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Shrimp and Grit Bites

Recipe by Dan Monroe, executive chef at The Pantry in Fairfield, Conn.

Shrimp and Grit Bites

Chef Dan Monroe
Course Appetizer
Servings 6 people


  • Spice grinder


For the garam masala

  • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons cardamom seeds
  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

For the grits

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups grits, preferably stone cut, but quick grits optional
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere, shredded

For the shrimp

  • 3 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
  • 12 13/15 size shrimp (cleaned, no shell)
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1/2 link chorizo, chopped into small squares
  • 2 tablespoons butter, if needed
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro


Make the Garam Masala

  • Toast seeds - cumin, coriander, cardamom, and black peppercorns in a small pan over low heat for 10 minutes or so. You’re looking for a good amount of color. Stir constantly. Once toasted completely, cool completely and then grind in a spice grinder until fine. Mix in cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add salt to taste.

Make the grits

  • Using at least a 2 quart pot, melt butter and add onion and garlic and sauté just until translucent and starting to brown. Add in milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and gently whisk in grits. Simmer lightly while continuing to whisking. This will take about 20 minutes to cook stone cut grits fully (be sure heat is low).
  • Once grits are thickened, add cheese and check salt.
  • Pour the grits into an 8 x 8 or 9 x 7 brownie pan. Make sure grits are even and then let them cool in the fridge.
  • Once cool, grit cakes can be cut to desired size, and then placed into hot pan with butter. Searing gently on each side.

Make the shrimp

  • Marinate shrimp in seasoning and lemon juice and let sit an hour in fridge.
  • In hot pan, add butter (it may smoke some, but that’s ok). Lay shrimp in one at a time, searing on both sides, about 2 minutes each. Shrimp should be firm to touch and be curled.
  • Remove shrimp, from pan. If butter is not burnt, you definitely want to use it because there’s a lot of flavor in it. If it is burnt, remove and add new butter.
  • Now add in chorizo and onions and cook till chorizo has rendered some of its fat and the onions are translucent. Place in a small container.
  • To assemble: Place one shrimp on top of grit cake, and top with the chorizo-onion mixture, and top with cilantro.


This recipe premiered on the Connecticut Public series CUTLINE. Watch CUTLINE: Staying Connected Through Food with Marysol Castro and Chef Plum on CPTV. New episodes of CUTLINE premiere each month. Episodes are also available on, as well as at; on YouTube; and on the free Connecticut Public mobile app. (Visit Google Play or the Apple App Store to download the app.)
Keyword Christmas, Holiday

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