green onions, green part only, sliced into rounds
medium or large shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined if desired, and patted dry with paper towels
hot sauce (such as Tabasco), or to taste
Splash lemon juice, optional
In This Recipe
First, make the cauliflower grits: Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it is about the size of couscous grains. Make sure not to over-process the cauliflower; you want to leave it a little course to replicate the texture of grits. If your food processor is on the smaller side, you might need to do this in batches.
Spread the processed cauliflower out on a large plate or platter and microwave for 8 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Alternately, you can cook it on the stovetop: bring an inch or so of water to a simmer in a deep pot large enough to hold a fine mesh sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Transfer the cauliflower to the sieve or colander and set it over the simmering water. Cover and steam until the cauliflower has softened but still retains its texture, about 5-8 minutes.
Place the cooked cauliflower in a kitchen towel and wring as dry as possible. You want to remove as much water as possible from the cauliflower so it can soak up the cooking liquid and seasonings. Fluff the cauliflower with a fork to break up any clumps (you should have about 4 cups) and place it in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the cream, water, 2 tablespoons of the butter, the pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until the butter has melted and the cauliflower has started to absorb some of the liquid. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the cheese has melted. Reduce the heat to low and cover the cauliflower grits while you prepare the shrimp.
To make the shrimp: Sauté the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until just crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. You want about 2 tablespoons of fat left in the pan. If you have excess, pour it off. If you don’t have enough, add a little butter or olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and green onion along with a pinch of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and starting to turn golden, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the pan. When it has melted, add the shrimp along with a pinch of salt and sauté until the shrimp are almost cooked through. The time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp. To check for doneness, remove a shrimp from the pan and cut it in half. You want the inside to be slightly translucent. The shrimp will continue to cook off the heat and be cooked through by the time you serve them.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the hot sauce. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings. (You can add a splash of lemon juice if your hot sauce isn’t very vinegary.)
Divide the cauliflower grits among serving bowls. (If they are thicker than you would like, add a little water to the pot to loosen them. if they are too loose, cook them a minute or two longer over medium-high heat, uncovered.) Top with mushrooms and shrimp. Sprinkle the bacon over the top. Serve immediately, passing additional hot sauce alongside.