Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shrimpy Grits, So Much Better Than Gritty Shrimp

So I figured it was about time for another straight-up Southern recipe.  My mother has been after me to make Shrimp and Grits for a while, so I finally did.  I'd never made this particular dish before, so it gave me an opportunity to experiment, which is always fun. To create this recipe, I took what I knew about the basic ingredients for Shrimp and Grits and adjusted until I had something I was pleased with. I'd like to play with it a bit more, perhaps get some tomato flavor going, but I'm super-pleased with how this turned out. If you don't know what grits are (Bless your heart, you poor deprived thing), check out this Wikipedia page on the topic.

What You'll Need
Cutting board                                                             2 qt. pot
Knife for chopping                                                      Small bowl
Cheese grater                                                             Large cast iron skillet
Medium mixing bowl                                                  Large serving bowl
4 cups water                                                              Olive oil
1 cup stone-ground grits                                            3 tsp garlic, minced
3/4 cup white cheddar                                               3 green onions
3/4 cup sharp cheddar                                               1/2 Tbsp parsley
1/2 cup parmesan                                                      1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 stick butter                                                          2 dashes chili powder
1 lb. shrimp                                                                Lemon juice
4 slices bacon

Now Let's Make Shrimp and Grits!
Lovely Assistant Jen
To begin, measure out 4 cups of water into your 2 qt pot and set it on the stove over high heat so that you can bring the water to boil.  While the you're waiting on your water, measure out 1 cup of grits (for you non-Southerners that's grits plural, please don't ever call them grit) and set them aside. Now, begin shredding the two cheddar cheeses. You want to shred enough to have 3/4 cup of each, which is about 2.5 -3 oz (if you have a lovely assistant, now is a great time to put her to use). Chop your green onions, discarding the white parts, and mince your garlic (or use jarred minced garlic like me). If you're using fresh parsley, chop that, too.  Set aside.

Once the water comes to a boil, add the dry grits.  Reduce to a low heat and cover. You'll want to stir occasionally to ensure that your grits don't get lumpy or start to stick. While you're waiting, combine the sharp cheddar, white cheddar, and parmesan in your medium bowl.  You don't have to mix it, but you want it all together before you add it to the grits later. Cut the 1/2 stick of butter into pieces over the bowl of cheeses. Set aside. (Sorry if the photos are a bit off tonight guys, my camera batteries were both dead, so I had to steal Lovely Assistant Jen's iphone).

Cameo! That's my Mom.
Stir your grits (Stir, I say! *cracks whip*).  Take your shrimp and the small bowl to the sink.  Begin removing the tails from your shrimp, placing the shrimp in the bowl and the discarding the tails.  Try to remove as much meat from the tails as you can. If you're not careful, the shrimp will rip and you'll leave behind a small portion in the tail. I find a couple wiggles at the the base of the shrimp before you pull it out helps this process along.  For this recipe I used precooked shrimp (because it's quicker and was on sale; mostly because it was on sale). It's fine, however, to use uncooked shrimp (they'll likely better absorb flavor, anyway), just know that you'll need to cook them a bit longer later in this recipe.

Stir your grits.  Now, lay out 4 slices of bacon in your large cast iron skillet and fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy (you'll know it's done when you find it really hard to resist eating it). Remove the bacon to some paper towels, and pat to remove grease. Try to get as much grease off the bacon as possible. Set aside.

Check your grits; they'll be done as soon as all the water is absorbed. If they're not done, stir and keep cooking. You'll have to wait until they're done to move farther in this recipe, since the shrimp cooks quickly. Hopefully, though, the grits have had plenty of time to cook. Pour the grits into your large serving dish.  Add the bowl of cheeses and mix thoroughly until all the cheese has melted. Make sure to blend everything together well; you don't want any pockets of cheese or of plain grits. Place the serving dish in the oven on warm until the shrimp are done. This will help the grits set, while also keeping them from cooling (cold grits are foul, by the way).

Take your large skillet and drain off any excess grease from the bacon.  Add a dab of olive oil and heat the skillet to medium high heat.  Add 3 tsp garlic, 1/2 Tbsp parsley, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, a couple dashes of chili powder, and the green onions. Cook until the garlic begins to brown (This will help release flavor). Add the shrimp and saute until the spices are evenly distributed and the shrimp have heated. Do NOT overcook (no one likes rubbery shrimp). If you're using uncooked shrimp, cook the shrimp until they turn pink and begin to curl, about 3 minutes.

Spoon the shrimp on top of the center of the grits. Make sure to get all the seasonings, too; pour the contents of the skillet over the top of the shrimp if necessary.  Squirt the shrimp with a little bit of lemon juice to taste. Garnish by crumbling the strips of bacon over the grits and around the shrimp in the center. Serve.

   Pin It


  1. Oooooooooo....looks so goooood!

    hey, wait a minute, where are the devised egs??? ;)

    1. Not this Sunday, but the next will be the deviled egg post. : )


You know you want to . . .