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Carolina Shrimp with Creamy Grits

Wednesday, April 6, 2005; Page F06

Carolina Shrimp

With Creamy Grits

4 main-course or

8 first-course servings

This traditional low-country dish from chef James Clark, executive chef at Palette in downtown Washington, belies Clark's Carolina upbringing. The exceptionally rich recipe has been a staple on the menu since shortly after Clark came to the restaurant last spring.

Depending on the desired consistency and richness of the grits, you may add more water and/or cream to taste; warm the additional liquid in a pan over medium heat before stirring it into the grits.

To accompany the smoky and creamy flavors of the dish, Clark suggests serving a sauvignon blanc; the wait staff at Palette recommends the Gascon Viognier 2003 from Mendoza, Argentina, or the Evolution Lucky #9 from Oregon.

For the grits:

4 cups water, plus additional as necessary

3 cups milk, half-and-half or heavy cream

2 cups grits (preferably Anson Mill; not instant)

4 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the shrimp:

6 tablespoons bacon drippings (from about 1/2 pound bacon)

3 medium onions, halved and sliced into thin wedges

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