Hot Cotton Candy Cajun Shrimp & Grits by Travis Lampke & Kristin Riebsomer

Hot Cotton Candy Cajun Shrimp & Grits by Travis Lampke & Kristin Riebsomer


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Hot Cotton Candy Cajun Shrimp & Grits

Have you ever finished a delicious meal at Uptown Cafe, sat back, and said to yourself, “Man, wouldn’t this be better if it had cotton candy and grapefruit in it?” I know. We all have. It’s truly a universal Bloomington experience.

But fear not! Your long held dreams are finally coming true! You can now actually have an upscale Cajun dinner with the cotton candy, grapefruit, and cornmeal you always dreamed about! You’re welcome!

Makes 4 servings


Citrus Marinated Shrimp

  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • Juice of 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot pepper sauce

Hot Cotton candy Glaze

  • 3 Oz organic honey
  • 1 Oz cotton candy (pink)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (grated)
  • 1 tbsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup water

Cornmeal Grits

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon (crisped and chopped)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease
  • Salt to taste

Etouffee Gravy

  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 4 celery ribs (diced)
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • Juice of one grapefruit


  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 16 compressed cotton candy balls


For the marinade, combine shrimp, grapefruit juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

For the Cotton hot candy glaze, add honey to a small saucepan over low heat. Once the honey is liquid and flows easily around the saucepan add the cotton candy and water, then stir continuously until fully dissolved. Once dissolved, strain into a small mixing bowl. Add garlic, hot pepper sauce, creole seasoning, chili powder, cayenne pepper to the bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Fry bacon until crisp in a large skillet. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tbsp bacon fat and leave the rest in the skillet.

For the cornmeal grits, add milk and water into a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then add cornmeal and stir. Once combined add bacon fat, chopped bacon, and parmesan cheese. Stir constantly until desired consistency is reached. Salt to taste.

For the Etouffee, melt the butter in a large saucepan. After butter begins to brown add flour, creole seasoning, and garlic powder, then whisk until combined. Add grapefruit juice, pepper, onion, and celery. Let cook until translucent. Add chicken broth. Cook until vegetables are tender and sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Remove shrimp from marinade into a medium bowl. Remove excess moisture with paper towels. Return skillet with reserved bacon fat to medium heat. Pour half of the hot cotton candy glaze on the shrimp and toss to coat. Place glazed shrimp in a single layer in the skillet. Once the shrimp begin to become opaque, flip and add the rest of the glaze. Once shrimp are fully cooked, remove from the skillet and into a medium bowl. Increase the stove temperature to high and cook the remaining glaze and bacon fat until thickened. Pour over shrimp and toss to coat.

To plate, spoon a generous portion of the cornmeal grits onto a plate. Top with the ettoufee and shrimp. Drizzle the glaze over to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and compressed cotton candy balls (because why not?)

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