Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pan Seared Shrimp with Romesco Sauce over Creamy Grits and Greens

Have you been watching the Food Network program - Worst Cooks in America?

I'm not sure why I even started watching this show. I consider myself a decent cook, so it's not like I thought I would learn anything. Maybe it's like watching the American Idol Auditions, you just want to be sure there is someone out there that is worse than you?

I kept watching even after the auditions, and was amazed at the kinds of recipes they were teaching these self proclaimed terrible cooks. I was shocked at the techniques and ingredients that I was not familiar with.

Pan Seared Shrimp with Romesco Sauce over Creamy Grits and Greens

A few weeks ago they featured this recipe.

It included:

Shelled and Deveined Shrimp (I've always purchased mine already deveined and had no idea how to do it myself).

Creamy Grits (seen them made - never eaten them or cooked them at home)

Mustard Greens (unless you count spinach - I've never cooked any kind of greens)

Romesco Sauce (I'm a total sauce girl, and even I didn't know what this was)

Grapeseed Oil (again, seen it, heard of it, but never used it)

In case you lost count - that 5 ingredients that I have never used before. How can that be? I'm a good cook! I watch all kinds of cooking shows and try all sorts of new recipes.

New Ingredients

There was no way I was going to have the Worst Cooks in America be better skilled than me.

The Challenge was ON - I was going to make this recipe!
The first hurdle was deveining the shrimp.

Looking for the Vein

It's supposed to run along the back of the shrimp.

The Vein

Just cut along the vein with a sharp knife and it can be pulled right out.

Sometimes the vein is hidden.

Hidden Vein

This one was along the belly of the shrimp. But it works just the same - cut with a knife along the vein and pull it out.

Deveined Shrimp

OK - that was easy enough. All the shrimp peeled and deveined.

Now on the the Sauce. I think I've actually had this sauce (and even tried to replicate it at home). One of my favorite dishes at a local restaurant back home in Pennsylvania serves delicious crab cakes with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. It think it might be the same as the Romesco Sauce (just without the fancy name).

Romesco Sauce

It's easy peasy to make. Just throw everything into a food processor and blend away. It reminds me of a pesto because it has nuts, herbs, garlic and oil, but What's interesting about this sauce is that it's thickened with crusty bread (crumbs) rather than Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Greens and Bread

Now that the sauce is made, on to the Grits. My only comment would be to follow the liquid/grits ratio on your particular brand of grits. When I used the proportions in the recipe, the grits were way to thick and I had to almost double the liquid (and therefore ended up with way more grits than I needed but had them for breakfast the next day - Yum).

They stayed nice and warm parked on the back of my cooktop.


The greens were much easier than I expected. For some reason I thought they had to cook for hours on end with a ham bone or some kind of fatty seasoning to take out the bitterness. Not the case - they were basically just wilted in a saucepan just like I've done spinach. The dash of red pepper flakes was a nice addition.

Pan Searing Shrimp

Now that the shrimp were all cleaned and ready to go, they only had to be seared for a few minutes and then the pan deglazed.


The finished dish was beautiful and delicious, and I feel better having mastered several new techniques and ingredients.

The final episode of Worst Cooks in America is on this Sunday night - I'll have to watch to see I can make the final meal, or if there is still more I need to learn.

I guess it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.


  1. Looks good, I may have to try it. I'm surprised you've never deveined shrimp. Fresh shrimp usually has to be deveined and whenever we go to the beach in the summer that's all we can get - curse you fresh shrimp! Anyhoo once again you inspire me.

  2. I have not seen that show. But that dish looks DELICIOUS! I love shrimp and grits. I'm going to have to try this for sure.

  3. I haven't cooked Brussel sprouts in 50 years because your father hated even the smell of them but
    Anne's recipe, roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon, sounds delicious and it is going to be on my Easter dinner menu. I'm a little worried about the guests liking it be we shall see. M

  4. You seriously take the best photos. And I love shrimp but hate deveining it. Even when you get it deveined, there is still a little bit left. My husband and I arm wrestle over who has to do it!! But your food looks delicious. I will have to try grits someday!!

  5. Looks yummy! I can't believe you can take such great pics and not burn the food. Kudos!!!

  6. That looks amazing! I am a huge grits fan. Especiallywhen paired with shrimp!

  7. This recipe looks delicious, I might try it soon. Yummy! Xoxo ♥

    Rocio R.

  8. What a fun post, beautifully photographed with a delish inspiring recipe! An awesome combination of lush, welcoming flavors and textures...shrimp and grits forever!

  9. Looks delicious! I'm going to try this!