Tampa's Table has been set just for you. Within the pages of Visit Tampa Bay's incredible new culinary journal, you'll unlock dozens of recipes created by the destination's best and brightest chefs. But that's not all, beyond the amazing creations in the book, you'll find online this our web-exclusive recipe by Chef Chad Johnson of Elevage in Hyde Park. Tampa's Table: A Culinary Journey Through Tampa Bay is available for sale online, at the Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center, Blind Tiger Cafe, Brew Bus Brewing.


Chef Chad Johnson’s Shrimp & Grits

For the cheddar grits:

2 cups water

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon thyme, minced

1 teaspoon sage, minced

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ tablespoon onion powder

½ teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 cup dry grits

¼ cup cream cheese

1 cup Newbridge cheddar, grated

¾ cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste


For the trinity tomato sauce:

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons garlic chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ teaspoon tabasco

1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 stalk of celery, finely diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

½ tablespoon dried oregano

½ tablespoon sweet paprika

1 cup peeled San Marzano plum tomatoes, pureed smooth


For the shrimp:

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 pound (16-20) Key West Pink Shrimp, shelled and deveined

Salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup Tasso ham, ground

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup white wine

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on bias


For the cheddar grits:

Place the water, milk, thyme, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper and turmeric in a pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Slowly stir in grits with a whisk. While whisking often, cook the grits until they are tender, 15-20 minutes. If the grits dry out before they are cooked you can add small increments of water until they are fully cooked, about a half cup at a time.

Once the grits are fully cooked and tender, stir in cream cheese until it is melted and fully blended into the grits. After the cream cheese has melted, stir in cheddar and parmesan until they both are melted and blended into the grits as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


For the trinity tomato sauce:

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Sweat the garlic in the canola oil until fragrant. Add in the tomato paste, tabasco, diced peppers, celery, thyme, oregano and paprika.

Cook over low heat until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes, making sure to stir often. Add the pureed plum tomato to the vegetable mixture in the pot and continue to simmer until the mixture reduces by fifty percent.


To make the shrimp and grits:

In a large sauté pan heat the canola oil over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper then lay them on one side in the hot pan. Cook them on one side then flip them over to cook through on the other side. Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan. Add the Tasso ham and sauté it to warm it through. Add in the cherry tomatoes and cook them just to soften them. Add in the wine to deglaze the pan. Reduce the wine slightly then add in the trinity tomato sauce. Stir to combine and add the shrimp back in.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Warm your grits in a sauce pan using milk or water to bring them up to heat. Use a whisk to stir them to fluff up their texture.

Scoop about 1 cup of warmed grits into four large bowls. Evenly portion the shrimp and tomato sauce mixture amongst the four bowls, spooning it on top of the grits (about 5 shrimp per bowl). Sprinkle the sliced scallions on top for garnish.