Shrimp and Grits, Momofuku-style

Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

I’ve written before about how much I like David Chang’s food (see resources page and Bo Ssam post, for example), but it’s worth repeating – the guy is doing wonderful things.  He’s a classically-trained, Korean-American chef who grew up in Virginia, worked in Japan, and lives and works in New York.  He has three restaurants in New York and is unquestionably one of the hottest chefs in America right now.  While it was the significant amount of profanity in his cookbook that first caught my interest, the 100% success rate I’ve had on recipes from the book is the real reason I love it.  This dish basically takes standard low-country shrimp and grits and adds the Japanese touches of bacon dashi and usukuchi.  It’s absolutely worth a try.

Adapted from David Chang’s Momofuku

  • 1 pound smoky bacon
  • 2 large pieces konbu
  • 2 cups quick-cooking grits
  • 2 Tb usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • 8 Tb butter
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 eggs, poached or soft-boiled
  • Scallions, chopped

Make bacon dashi – bring 8 cups of water to a simmer.  Add the konbu and steep for 10 minutes.  Remove and discard konbu.  Add ½ lb of the bacon and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain the bacon from the broth and discard.  Cool the broth until the fat forms a solid layer on top of the broth.  Skim off the fat and discard or save for another use.

If you think of it far enough in advance, soak the grits overnight.  When you’re ready to cook, drain the grits and add 2 cups of the bacon dashi.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat (while whisking).  Continue to whisk for 5 minutes after the mixture reaches a simmer, then turn heat to low.  Add the usukuchi, some kosher salt, and some fresh-ground pepper.  Whisk regularly until grits are cooked – anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes.  When they’re done, add the butter, whisking until it has fully melted and is incorporated.  Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Cut the remaining ½ lb bacon into small pieces.  In a cast-iron skillet, cook until crispy, about 6 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Drain most of the fat from the pan.

Put the shrimp in a large bowl.  Add 2 Tb of oil, some salt (and 1 tsp sugar if you want to aid browning).  Toss to coat.  Wipe the skillet clean (more or less) with a paper towel and add the shrimp, cooking about 90 seconds per side.  Do not over-cook.

Make plates by adding a big serving of grits, placing the poached or soft-boiled egg in the middle, and arranging the bacon, shrimp, and scallions in separate piles above the egg.  Serve immediately.

4 Responses to “Shrimp and Grits, Momofuku-style”

  1. 1 Jess June 17, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    I know grits aren’t for everyone, but I would do bad things to that dish. Unspeakable things. Things I wouldn’t say in front of Mom.

  2. 2 flooring greenville sc August 16, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

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