BLACKENED SALMON WITH SHRIMP & GRITS – This version of shrimp and grits from the South mixes a variety of ingredients into one delectable dish! Rich creamy grits are topped with blackened salmon, plump shrimp, flavorful mushrooms, and crispy bacon in this dish.
— 2 (6 ounce (ca. 227 g)) portions Salmon
— 1 ½ tablespoons Creole seasoning
— ½ teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
Shrimp and Grits:
— ¼ teaspoon salt
— ¼ teaspoon baking soda
— ½ pound Shrimp
— ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
— 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, divided
— ¼ pound shitake, or substitute mixed, mushrooms stemmed and thinly sliced (stems reserved)
— ½ cup stone-ground grits
— 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
— Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
— 1 small red onion, sliced thin
— 1 cup grated aged Parmesan cheese, grated
— 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
— 1 lemon, zested and juiced
— 1 green onion, sliced thin
Place the 2 (6 ounce (ca. 227 g)) portions of Salmon on a large plate, pat dry, and sprinkle Creole seasoning and brown sugar evenly over the salmon. Lightly pat the spices to adhere. Set to the side.
In a small saucepan, combine 4 cups stock with reserved mushroom trimmings. Bring to a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, combine Black Tiger Shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on, with salt, baking soda, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Reserve to the side. (If you prefer to remove tails, add them to the simmering stock.)
In a medium saucepan, whisk grits into 3 cups of the stock over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring and scraping bottom frequently with a wooden spoon, until grits are fully softened and have thickened into a loose porridge, about 25 minutes. Fold in 1 cup Parmesan and one tablespoon of butter, and season with freshly ground cracked black pepper. Turn the burner off and cover grits with a lid or parchment paper to keep warm.
In a large skillet or cast iron sauté pan, heat bacon over high heat until sizzling. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the bacon has rendered out the fat and become crisp, 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate. You should have 2-3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat in the pan. Remove excess fat, if any, and reserve to the side.
Return skillet to high heat and heat until sizzling. Carefully add the salmon fillets one at a time. Cook the salmon for 2-3 minutes without disturbing the fillets until the surface is blackened, and then carefully turn over each piece of salmon. Continue cooking salmon until the fish is cooked through, about 3 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork at its thickest part.
While the salmon cooks, add the shrimp around the salmon fillets in a single layer and cook, turning after a minute or two, until they are lightly browned outside with only a faint trace of translucence remaining in the center of each shrimp. When cooked, transfer shrimp and salmon to a plate until ready to serve.
Add reserved bacon fat to skillet, return to medium-high heat, and heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and red onion and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 3 minutes. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and continue cooking until mushrooms are lightly browned, an additional 5 minutes. If the pan becomes too dry, add vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep vegetables from sticking.
Add the remaining cup of stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in shrimp and reserved bacon. Lower heat to medium and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter until fully melted and emulsified with the sauce.
Ladle grits into bowls. Top with blackened filet of salmon. Spoon on shrimp, mushrooms, and gravy. Squeeze lemon juice over and garnish with lemon zest, green onion, and remaining Parmesan as desire.