Shrimp and Grits

A friend and I were talking about grits today at work (I know. We’re weird.). And then we started talking about Charleston and how we both want to visit. My mom visited a few months ago and loved it. A college friend recently got engaged there (and I secretly loved reading her story on her blog). This is a town I’ve never been to that I’ve wanted to see for years, and so I concocted a scheme so I could visit tonight.

Shrimp and grits

I started thinking about dinner at about 3 o’clock, which is easy to do when you’ve forgotten to eat lunch and you’re kinda bored at work. Shrimp and grits! It was the obvious answer. I daydreamed about it the whole train ride home.

Grits — the real kind, not instant — are incredibly delicious. Rich and creamy (without cream! Though I won’t stop you from stirring some in at the end) and not the least bit grainy. They seem a little intimidating — what if they get lumpy? — but they are surprisingly easy and well worth the time. And no, you don’t have to stand there whisking over a hot pot for half an hour.

Shrimp are a great freezer staple because they thaw and cook in just minutes. I choose wild American shrimp because they are sustainably harvested and farmed shrimp are often raised under less-than-ideal conditions (for both the shrimp and the environment). Of course, I love the opportunity to add in as many veggies as I can. And because it’s Southern, butter.

Shrimp and grits

So go on a little journey tonight in your kitchen, while you plan your next weekend getaway.

Shrimp and Grits

The key to lump-free grits is to add them to the pot ever so slowly. Just sprinkle them in a little at a time while whisking. Once you have them all incorporated, you only need to stir the pot a couple of times while they cook. You can pay extra for a package that says “polenta” on the front, or you can use medium- or coarse-ground cornmeal — they’re the same thing. The shrimp and veggies only take about 15 minutes from start to finish so start cooking them accordingly. Serves 2.

For the grits (makes 3-4 servings):

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, water, or a combination
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Optional: 2-4 oz. shredded cheese
  1. Add stock/water, salt, and butter to a large pot (at least 3-qt) and heat over high heat. Just as bubbles begin to form on the surface, slowly whisk in cornmeal. Whisk for a minute or two, then cover and reduce heat to low. Stir every 15-20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed, 30-40 minutes. Stir in cheese, if using.

For the shrimp:

  • 8 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 a green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a couple handfuls of spinach
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of half a lemon or lime
  • cilantro or parsley, to garnish
  1. Heat a large skillet (I used cast-iron) over medium heat. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry, then season with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the skillet; once melted, add the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how large they are. Transfer to a plate or bowl, set aside.
  2. Add both peppers to the hot pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook about five minutes, til they start to soften. Add in remaining veggies. Cover for a few minutes to wilt the spinach, then cook uncovered for a few minutes more to break down the tomatoes.
  3. Squeeze in the lemon/lime juice to deglaze the pan; use a wooden spoon to scrape up the yummy brown bits. Return the shrimp to the pan, stir to combine, and serve atop the grits.
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2 comments

  1. Yum! I love shrimp and grits!! :)

    1. Me too! I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it sooner!

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