Shrimp and GritsPosted by in Food
Deep inside this Yankee, there is a Southerner trying to get out. I’ve been getting in touch with my Southern roots (and I do have them – Button Gwinnett who signed the Declaration of Independence and lived in Savannah is an ancestor and I obsessively read books by Anne Rivers Siddons about the low country). Ever since our trip to Savannah a few years ago, I’ve been hearing the call of the salt water marshes and longing for fried chicken. I learned to make the fried chicken (it took a whole summer of experimenting) and I also make a good hoecake and really good lemonade (thank you to Paula Deen for both). There is one thing that has eluded me however, and that, my friends, is grits.
I’ve had a few encounters with grits, and none have gone well. In Florida, we’ve had them at Mel’s Diner in Naples. They were not good. I’ve made them before for a Martha recipe and they weren’t good. I am at the point where I don’t understand the allure.
Then I noticed Martha had a recipe for shrimp and grits in July Living. I had to try it. This grits recipe was different from others I’ve tried. Martha says to cover the grits (1 cup) with water 3 inches over them, then drain the water off the top and then strain the grits in a sieve. This is supposed to remove the husks. Heck, I didn’t know grits had husks.
Then you get the grits cooking in 5 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Once it has simmered for 45 min, you cover it and take it off the heat and let it just sit for 30-60 minutes.
While this is sitting, make the shrimp. Cook 2 slices bacon chopped, then add 1/4 med onion chopped, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1/4 of a green pepper chopped (I used red) in the grease. Push those to the side once soft and sear the shrimp (1 lb shelled and deveined) on both sides in the middle of the pan. Push those to the side and add 1 tbsp flour. Mix that up and then add 3/4 cup chicken stock and 1 tbsp lemon juice until it thickens, about 2 min. Add bacon back in and season with salt and pepper.
Add 1 tbsp butter and 2/3 cup cup cheddar cheese to the grits and heat them up. Serve shrimp over grits.
The moment of truth? I’m sorry to say I still am not a fan of grits! They weren’t bad, they were just really plain and bland (even with the cheese in them). With the shrimp and sauce on them they had some taste, but it wasn’t anything I want to make again. My inner Southerner is crushed. They just tasted like tasteless mush, with some cheese in it.
So, does anyone want to tell me how to make grits I will like?
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Not a big grits fan, myself. BUT I do love Savannah, ever since visiting for a wedding last year right around this time. Fabulous city!
Such an unexpected combination here. I would never have thought of pairing the two until you brought it to my attention. When I think of shrimp with a starch I immediately think: “rice.”
Grits are a base starch. They should taste better than what you are describing, but they are rarely the star of the show. Are you using instant? Stone ground? These things make a big difference.
Also, if you don’t read Pat Conroy, you should. He’s one of my favorite Southern writers. Ah, the Prince of Tides.
Love Pat Conroy. I’m using stone ground. Rice is bland too, but I like it. Maybe I’m just not used to the texture.
Shrimp and grits are a common Southern combo I think. I too would naturally pair shrimp with rice though.
I don’t know how. Maybe increase butter to a whole stick? Sometime tells me that good grits require a huge amount of butter.
Frugal Kiwi has the right of it. Grits are sort of a background for you to experiment with — and I know you are good at that.
It may well be that it’s just not a texture for you. But a few ideas– try stirring in eggs (cooked any way you like), or hot spices if you like those. Take leftover grits and fry them. Serve them as you would polenta. There are also some people (some Yankees…), I hesitate to mention, who like their grits with sugar, cinnamon, milk…ack. That would not feed your inner southerner.
That said, I’m a southerner, and make good grits, but rarely make them, not a big item in our household. Sometimes we have them at the holidays and mix them with eggs and leftover stuffing!
Love grits!! But ~ have never eaten them for any other meal than breakfast!! Butter, cream or milk & either sugar or honey ~ with crispy toast…mmmm! Or they can be refrigerated til firm, sliced & pan fried in butter, then served with syrup or honey…
I discovered grits when I met my boyfriend, who’s from the south. They look a bit odd, but they’re really good, and surprisingly healthy too!
I don’t like grits, no matter how they are made. But it’s so cool that yr ancestor signed the declaration of independence!
This is how my mom makes cornmeal mush – she refrigerates and cuts into squares and then fries and serves with syrup
Thanks for the ideas!
shrimp and grits. just thinking about it is making my mouth water. I never cooked southern food before (besides the basics) and i shall follow your recipe. thank you!
My wife and I love Hominy Grill’s shrimp and grits recipe. Looks much better than Martha’s recipe.
Thanks for sharing. I just can’t seem to get into grits though. Maybe this recipe would do it though.
I was born and raised in the south, Alabama to be exact. I am somewhat of a grits snob….I have tasted them all over the country and world and the one thing that rings true is “SALT YOUR WATER” When I was in Culinary school in Chicago, one of my instructors was trying to teach us the *proper* way to cook grits. His were aweful ! and if those had been my first foray into the wonderful world of grits, I wouldn’t like them either. In your recipe for the amount of water/grits to salt ratio is WAY off ! Try increasing it to 1.5 Tablespoons of salt. Also use Sharp Cheddar. Try a dash of cayenne pepper in the shrimp ‘gravy’, also try adding a few diced tomatoes….hope this helps ! Don’t give up on Shrimp ‘N’ Grits !
Thanks for the tips! I’ll give it a try.