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Shrimp Grits, Pickled Jalapeño, Fried Egg

['1 jalapeño, thinly sliced', '3/4 cup water', '1/2 cup distilled white vinegar', '1/4 cup sugar', '1 teaspoon kosher salt', '2 1/2 pounds peeled and cleaned large (16 to 20 count) shrimp, thawed if frozen and tails removed (2 pounds total without tails)', '6 tablespoons unsalted butter', '1 teaspoon kosher salt', '1/8 teaspoon cayenne or to taste', '1 2/3 cups vegetable stock', '1 cup corn powder*', '1 scallion, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced', '1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper', '4 fried quail eggs (optional)', 'Equipment: Meat grinder fitted with a fine (3/16-inch) die']

Place the jalapeño slices in a small heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Pour over the jalapeño, cover, and let cool. Once the mixture is cool, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Grind the shrimp using a meat grinder fitted with a fine (3/16-inch) die.
Clean and dry the meat grinder and parts (you will need it again later).
In a large, deep sauté pan over moderate heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter until foamy. Add the ground shrimp, along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cayenne, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (the shrimp will clump, but that is OK), until firm and crumbly, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and use the meat grinder fitted with a fine (3/16-inch) die to grind the shrimp 2 more times.
Return the shrimp "grits" to the large, deep sauté pan, and add the vegetable stock, corn powder, and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Place over moderate heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, along with the scallion and pepper. Divide the shrimp "grits" evenly among 4 shallow bowls, garnish with pickled jalapeño slices, and, if desired, top each with 1 fried egg.

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