Blackened Salmon with Shrimp and Grits

This take on Southern shrimp and grits combines a host of flavors into one delicious dish!  The recipe features rich cheesy grits topped with blackened salmon, plump shrimp, savory mushrooms, and crispy bacon.

Blackened Salmon with Shrimp and Grits

Recipe by Chef Emily Ellyn, more at

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  45 minutes
Yield:  About 5 cups grits topped with 8-10 shrimp and 2 (6-ounce) Salmon fillets

Serves:  2 - 4

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Blackened Salmon:

  • 2 (6 ounce) portions © Santa Monica Seafood Company Norwegian Salmon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon light or dark brown sugar

     Shrimp and Grits:

    • ½ lb Shrimp
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tspn corn starch
    • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, divided
    • ¼ lb shitake, or substitute mixed, mushrooms stemmed and thinly sliced (stems reserved)
    • ½ cup stone-ground grits
    • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
    • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
    • 1 cup grated aged Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1 green onion, sliced thin


    Place two (6 ounce) portions © Santa Monica Seafood Company’s Norwegian Salmon on a large plate, pat dry, and sprinkle Creole seasoning and brown sugar evenly over the salmon.  Lightly pat the spices to adhere.  Set to the side.

    In a small saucepan, combine 4 cups stock with reserved mushroom trimmings.  Bring to a gentle simmer.

    Meanwhile, combine a half pound of © Santa Monica Seafood Company’s 16/20 Tail-on Black Tiger Shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on, with salt, baking soda, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and toss to coat.  Reserve to the side.  (If you prefer to remove tails, add them to the simmering stock.)

    In a medium saucepan, whisk grits into 3 cups of the stock over medium-high heat.  Reduce to a simmer.  Cook, stirring and scraping bottom frequently with a wooden spoon, until grits are fully softened and have thickened into a loose porridge, about 25 minutes. Fold in 1 cup Parmesan and one tablespoon of butter, and season with freshly ground cracked black pepper.  Turn the burner off and cover grits with lid or parchment paper to keep warm.

    In a large skillet or cast iron sauté pan, heat bacon over high heat until sizzling. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the bacon has rendered out the fat and become crisp, 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper-towel lined plate. You should have 2-3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat in the pan.  Remove excess fat, if any, and reserve to the side.

    Return skillet to high heat and heat until sizzling. Carefully add the salmon fillets one at a time.  Cook the salmon for 2-3 minutes without disturbing the fillets until the surface is blackened, and then carefully turn over each piece of salmon.  Continue cooking salmon until the fish is cooked through, about 3 minutes or until flakes easily with a fork at its thickest part.

    While the salmon cooks, add the shrimp around the salmon fillets in a single layer and cook, turning after a minute or two, until they are lightly browned outside with only a faint trace of translucence remaining in the center of each shrimp. When cooked, transfer shrimp and salmon to a plate until ready to serve.

    Add reserved bacon fat to skillet, return to medium-high heat, and heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and red onion and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 3 minutes.  Scrape any browned bits from bottom of the pan and continue cooking until mushrooms are lightly browned, an additional 5 minutes.  If the pan becomes too dry, add vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep vegetables from sticking.

    Add remaining cup of stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in shrimp and reserved bacon. Lower heat to medium and whisk in remaining tablespoon of butter until fully melted and emulsified with the sauce.

    Ladle grits into bowls.  Top with blackened filet of salmon.  Spoon on shrimp, mushrooms, and gravy.  Squeeze lemon juice over and garnish with lemon zest, green onion, and remaining Parmesan as desire.  Enjoy!