When I did a book signing at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market before Christmas, I was lucky enough to share the community table with Jody Moyt, executive chef at Owen Brennan’s in East Memphis. Moyt was demonstrating how to make the restaurant’s signature shrimp and grits. He also passed around generous tastings of the finished dish. I ate at least three.
It was a privilege to watch an accomplished chef like Moyt cook with ease as he prepared Owen Brennan’s Cajun classic. I envied Moyt’s memory of the recipe and how he mixed the ingredients with a skillful shake of the pan.
Moyt had prepared the grits ahead of time, but he shared a few secrets while he set up. He uses stone-ground grits from the Original Grit Girl in Oxford and adds smoked cheddar cheese, heavy cream and diced onion, among other things.
He prepared the shrimp on burners at the table, sautéing ingredients quickly in a smoking pan with clarified butter. Cooking didn’t seem to take more than six or seven minutes, thanks in part to prep work that arranged all the ingredients in small bowls ahead of cooking. Overall, the dish seemed easy to prepare and tasted delicious. Market customers agreed. Even toddlers sheepishly asked for seconds.
I’ve been fretting that my scribbled notes would be non-sensible to readers, so I was happy to find this recipe for Owen Brennan’s shrimp and grits published in September on athometn.com. Click here to see the specifics, but also remember these additional tips based on Moyt’s cooking finesse.
- Take the time to clarify your butter.
- Remove the shells on the shrimp, but keep the tails on.
- Julienne the Tasso ham.
- Use shrimp stock when preparing the shrimp.
- Make sure you take the time to prep, so you don’t overcook ingredients.
- Ladle a generous amount of broth on top of the shrimp and grits before serving.
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