Mexican Shrimp and Grits

by Chef Aarón Sánchez

Mexican BBQ Shrimp

1# U-10 shrimp, head on, tail on, peeled & deveined

¼ cup adobo seasoning*

¼ cup roasted poblano, peeled, cut into strips

1 cup BBQ shrimp sauce* (recipe below)

¼ cup ancho-anchovy butter*(recipe below)

2 lemons for squeezing

2 cheese grits (recipe below)

2 tablespoons mexican oregano

Micro cilantro


Vegetable oil

Season the shrimp with salt and adobo and sear in a large hot saute pan over medium-high heat, cook shrimp on both sides until a nice sear is achieved but the shrimp are not cooked all the way.  Don’t crowd the pan, you should probably do this in small batches of 6-8 shrimp.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and rest on a sheet tray.  Add the strips of poblano and saute for a minute or two.  Deglaze with the bbq shrimp sauce and let come to a simmer.  Let the sauce simmer for about 2 minutes and add the shrimp back to the pan.  Add a pinch of mexican oregano and the ancho-anchovy butter to the pan, and stir in.  Once the butter is emulsified and the shrimp are finished cooking, plate the shrimp over an entrée sized bowl of Cheese Grits, topped with lots of the sauce, garnish with a nice squeeze of lemon and chopped cilantro or micro cilantro.  

Adobo Seasoning

Makes approximately 1½ cups 

¼ cup cumin seeds

¼ cup coriander seeds

¼ cup fennel seeds

¼ cup yellow mustard seeds

2 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces

2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces

½ cup dried whole oregano (preferably Mexican) 

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder

¼ cup Spanish paprika (pimento), preferably sweet or hot 

1.     Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the cumin, coriander, fennel, and mustard seeds along with the pieces of pasilla and ancho chiles. Toast, stirring constantly, until it’s very aromatic and just beings to smoke, about 3 minutes. 

2.     Dump the mixture onto a plate and let it cool to room temperature. Grind it to a fine powder in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. 

3.     Put the powder in a large bowl and add the oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Stir them really well to combine. 

4.     Store the adobo in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in a cool, dark place for up to a month.

BBQ Shrimp Sauce

1 cup worcestershire sauce

¼ cup roasted garlic,  smashed into paste

5 cups shrimp stock

In a sauce pot add the 2 cups of worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer and let reduce by about ½.  Add the garlic and the shrimp stock and continue to reduce again by half.  Skim the surface of any impurities and then strain.

Ancho-Anchovy Butter

1 stick butter

1-2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded & deveined

1-2 anchovies

1 tablespoon roasted garlic

Let the butter sit out at room temperature for about 2 hours.  Take the ss&d ancho chiles and steep in boiling water for about 20 minutes until rehydrated.  In a blender, add the anchovies, garlic and the rehydrated chiles, puree into a paste.  Whip the paste into the softened butter until evenly mixed.  Roll up the butter in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate (optional).


2 ½ quarts chicken stock

24 ounces instant grits

8 ounces butter

2 tablespoons kosher salt

9 ounces cotija cheese

1 ounce olive oil 

  1. Boil chicken stock in a stockpot, add grits and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Once grits are cooked, add butter and Cojita cheese.

To plate, spoon grits onto a shallow serving dish. Top with shrimp and garnish with micro cilantro.