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Tag: shrimp and grits

Shrimp ‘n Grits–To Cheese or Not To Cheese?

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Recipes and Food

To Cheese…or Not To Cheese?

In his or her kitchen repertory, any southern cook should have the successful preparation of grits.  Not fancy grits, but just plain grits.  Many don’t, and I suspect that’s due to the fact that they can’t boil pasta or cook rice either.  All are simple chores, and the success of many a meal depends on mastery of those subjects.   Essentially hominy (corn kernels processed using an alkaline solution like lye), grits come in several variations.  At most groceries, you’ll find all sorts—coarse and fine-ground, yellow and white–even “instant”.  “Real” grits need to cook slowly for about 20 minutes and I avoid “instant” grits at all costs.

In many parts of the American South, grits are considered breakfast food.  In fact, northerners often confuse grits with cream of wheat and apply sugar and milk. More likely you’ll find them an accompaniment to eggs, bacon and sausage in our southern states, but in Florida, much to the initial surprise of my Eastern North Carolina-native wife, we eat grits with fish and seafood.

In recent years, shrimp and grits has become a standard menu item in many establishments and homes.  The dish is simple to cook and a hearty main course on a cold winter night.  And it can be varied with regards to whether or not to include cheese or the type of meat to include.  Cheese can add richness to the grits, but some chefs feel it overpowers the taste of the shrimp.  Others go to great trouble to include elaborate combinations of cheddar, Parmesan and even cream cheese.  The choice is yours, but I’ll stick with simplicity and use extra-sharp cheddar—if I use cheese at all.   As for meat, “salty” is the key.  It’s hard to beat store-bought bacon, but you can easily substitute Cajun-style tasso or Italian pancetta to give your version of shrimp and grits a regional or continental touch.

Shrimp and grits can easily become a standard main dish at your dinner table, taking simple ingredients to new heights.   Serve with a salad or slaw and a buttered biscuit and you’ll find that, along with compliments about the meal, guests and family will be asking for a repeat performance.

Basic Shrimp  and Grits

6 cups water

1 tbs. salt

1/2 tbs. freshly-ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups yellow grits

1/2-stick butter

2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, lightly dusted with flour

1-pound bacon

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 cup thinly sliced scallions

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

In a large saucepan, bring the salted water to a boil.  Then, add grits and pepper and stir for about 30 seconds.  Turn down heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed.  If the grits are too thick, add some more water (or milk) and continue to cook, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in butter and cheese.

Fry bacon in a skillet until crispy; drain and crumble.  In the reserved grease, sauté shrimp until pink, just a minute or two, and remove to a holding plate.  Don’t overcook your shrimp! Then, add parsley, garlic and scallions to the hot bacon grease and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until the scallions are transparent.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl.  Stir in all the other ingredients, serve immediately– and enjoy.

Serves 4 to 6

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Shrimp and Grits–A Southern Favorite Featured by Bon Appetit Magazine


Take a look at the latest BA (Bon Appetit) Blog and see my daughter’s recipe for Shrimp and Grits.  Also, if you’re interested, take a look at her food blog, Mod Meals on Mendenhall. I’m wondering how a version featuring fresh gulf scallops might taste??

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits is a classic southern dish. What about Scallops and Grits???

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