For my weeknight cooking, I’m looking for great flavor and speed of preparation. So, instead of searching all over town for special chiles, then chopping and puréeing, trying not to get HOT! in my eyes, I pull sriracha from my fridge and make a cheater peri-peri sauce right in the pan.
Peri-peri (also piri-piri) refers to a spicy sauce of Portuguese origin made from a blend of fresh bird’s eye chile peppers, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and spices. Delicious, but I’ll save culinary authenticity for the restaurant chefs. (This is probably why bottled specialty sauces sell so well, but my refrigerator says no to too many of these. I tend to stick with basic building block ingredients and encourage my clients to do the same. Simplify.)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup corn grits (or “polenta”)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil and/or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed with 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 green onions or 1/2-inch bunch chives, chopped
- 1 lemon (1/2 for cooking, the other 1/2 for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- garnish: juice from other 1/2 lemon, fresh parsley leaves (chopped), salt, and pepper
- Bring water to boil in large saucepan. Add salt and sprinkle in the grits, stirring with a wooden spoon. Bring back to boil, lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, until soft textured - lift the lid every few minutes to give it a stir. Remove from heat, stir in olive oil and/or butter, and cheese, cover and let sit while you cook the shrimp.
- Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat for a couple minutes then add the shrimp and toss a couple times. Add the garlic (mashed with salt) and cook until the shrimp just begin to turn pink. Add the green onions or chives, juice from lemon half, and sriracha. Toss and cook a couple more minutes until shrimp are done. (They will turn opaque. Best not to overcook!)
- On your platter, layer the grits, cooked shrimp and sauce, then spritz with lemon juice, and sprinkle on the parsley, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.