RECIPE: Make Southern Fusion Dining’s Blackened Shrimp and Grits

Southern Fusion Dining’s Blackened Shrimp and Grits  
Courtesy of Tiffanie Leaks

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Southern Fusion Dining’s Blackened Shrimp and Grits Courtesy of Tiffanie Leaks

My Sunday school class ate at the Southern Fusion Dining in Locust Grove. There were 18 of us and everybody I talked to said it was some of the best food they had ever eaten. Plus the service was great. I had the Blackened Shrimp and Grits and it was so delicious. I have never had grits that were as creamy as these. Just wondering if you might be able to get the recipe. Thanks. — Lanelle LaRue, Lake City

Grits can be cooked in varying amounts of liquid, and for creamy results like these, Southern Fusion’s owner and chef Paul Lewis uses plenty of water, half-and-half and milk along with lots of butter and cheese. The restaurant serves these shrimp and grits in two ways. At breakfast, the grits are served with five shrimp, and for lunch or brunch, they’re served with seven shrimp along with a side dish.

Lewis explained the inspiration for his recipe. “Growing up, I always had a love for unique tasting food. After serving over two decades in the U.S. Army, I decided to begin my culinary journey and enrolled in culinary school. One day I was asked to come up with a recipe for shrimp and grits. As I started brainstorming, I knew that I wanted to create a very rich, creamy, one-of-a-kind meal that would leave a lasting impression on all who tasted it. I came up with my famous blackened shrimp and grits recipe and the rest is history. It is now a staple in my restaurant. The trick is all in the grits and using the perfect pepper jack cheese.”

The restaurant uses Quaker quick grits and their pepper jack comes from a specialty vendor and is not available to the public. He suggests using a good pepper jack cheese such as the Sonoma Jacks pepper jack sold at Cost Plus World Market.

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Southern Fusion Dining’s Blackened Shrimp and Grits
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup quick grits
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon blackened seasoning, or to taste
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish
  • In a large saucepan, combine water, half-and-half, butter and whole milk. Bring mixture to a boil, then slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until grits are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in pepper jack and taste for seasoning. Keep warm.
  • While grits are cooking, make Cajun Cream Sauce: In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Watch carefully and boil until cream reduces to half, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in Cajun seasoning and keep warm.
  • When ready to serve, in a medium bowl, combine shrimp, olive oil and blackened seasoning. Toss to coat. Heat a large dry skillet over high heat and add shrimp. Cook until shrimp is seared on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Divide grits between serving plates and divide shrimp over each serving. Drizzle with Cajun Cream Sauce, garnish with green onions and serve. Serves 6.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 632 calories (percent of calories from fat, 70), 24 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 49 grams total fat (28 grams saturated), 222 milligrams cholesterol, 1,579 milligrams sodium.

From the menu of . . . Southern Fusion Dining, 656 Peeksville Road, Locust Grove. 678-272-8688,

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