Ocala Cooks | Capt. Joe Talley

Capt. Joe Talley is a 25-year Ocala Fire Rescue veteran who has dedicated his career to serving citizens. He is part of OFR’s Special Operations team as well as the Florida Task Force 8 Urban Search and Rescue crew. When he’s not helping others, Talley is making sure members of his team, family and friends are well fed. He is a mainstay with the OFR team at the annual Marion County Chili Cookoff, which benefits The Cornerstone School.

Shrimp and Grits


Shrimp to make two servings:

1 pound medium to large shrimp (peeled completely, rinsed and patted dry)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 ½ teaspoons paprika (smoked if preferred)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon salt (fine ground sea salt or Himalayan)

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper



2 cups chicken broth or stock

2 cups milk (I use whole but 2% could be used)

1/3 cup butter (cut up)

Salt and pepper to taste

¾ cup of old fashion grits (25-minute type)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

After the shrimp are patted dry, coat them with half the EVOO and reserve the rest of the oil for cooking. 

Blend the seasonings together in a small bowl and sprinkle a little at a time onto the shrimp, mixing it in as you go. Let the shrimp marinate in the refrigerator while you begin the grits.

Combine the chicken broth and milk in a 6-quart pot and place on medium heat. Add the salt and pepper, then the cubes of butter. Once the liquid begins to steam, increase the heat to bring it to a boil. Begin whisking in the grits to prevent lumps from forming and continue to whisk for 1 minute. Turn the heat to a low setting while still whisking for another minute.

Once the rolling boil slows, place a tight lid on the pot to allow the grits to cook for 20 minutes. Occasionally stir the grits to prevent them from sticking and lumping up. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat, add the cheddar cheese (fresh shredded is best) and mix thoroughly. Replace the lid and slide the pot to the back of the stove. 

To cook the shrimp, pre-heat a skillet and add the remaining EVOO. When the skillet is hot, add the shrimp and as much of the oil and seasoning from the bowl as you like. After a couple of minutes, flip the shrimp and cook the other side, then move the skillet off the heat.

Place some grits in a bowl and add shrimp to the top. Be sure to get some of the drippings from the bottom of the skillet! I usually serve buttered bread with the meal.

To be featured in Ocala Cooks, send us an email at editorial@magnoliamediaco.com

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