Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Martin

Shrimp and Grits is a Crook's Corner classic. The late Bill Neal has influenced young chefs across the South, and diners still enjoy his inspired recipes at this landmark restaurant in Chapel Hill. Executive chef Bill Smith has added some creative touches to the menu, such as Warm Goat Cheese Salad With Roasted Beets and Pumpkin Seeds and Hangar Steak With Bourbon Brown Sauce, but this shrimp and grits dish is still a mainstay.

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare the grits and hold in a warm place or on top of a double boiler over simmering water.

Step 2

Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Rinse and pat dry. 

Step 3

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, but save all of the grease.

Step 4

Dust the shrimp with the seasoned flour. In the large skillet, begin to sauté the  shrimp in the bacon grease over high heat. Turn the shrimp and then add the mushrooms.  Let the mushrooms cook a moment, then begin tossing the skillet as for a stir-fry. Pour off some of the grease if it appears too oily.

Step 5

Cook for a minute or two more until the shrimp and mushrooms appear to be done and have browned a little. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute shaking the pan vigorously. Add the lemon juice, and Tabasco and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Lastly, add the scallions and toss to combine. Correct the seasonings. Spoon shrimp mixture over hot Cheese Grits; sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Chef Bill Smith Crook's Corner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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