Grits are, for the most part, just a version of polenta, usually made with white corn meal and served with lots of butter and cheese. Consistency is a matter of personal preference, so keep tasting as you cook, knowing that once they are off the heat, they end up thickening up quite a bit.
If you have a basic recipe for either of the components of this dish, feel free to use them. I am a strong proponent of using methods that are familiar and work well. This is simply my take on this classic of southern American cooking.
This recipe serves two hungry fast-breakers.
For the grits, bring to a boil:
1 1/2 cups of water, salted
Stir together and add to the boiling water:
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup white or yellow cornmeal
Cook, stirring frequently, until very thick or to your tastes; I usually take about 20 minutes to cook grits, then add:
3-5 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 to 1 cup of shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (optional, especially with shrimp*)
Taste, and add salt and pepper to adjust seasoning
For the shrimp, peel and de-vein:
10-12 large to extra-large raw shrimp
Add the shrimp to a large bowl and toss with:
Old Bay seasoning
Ground, tinned black pepper
Freshly ground black or white pepper
Basically, you want to coat the shrimp with an even layer of seasoning without over-seasoning, so trust yourself to know what will be just right and what will be over the top for you. You can let the shrimp sit for a little while, if you you are in the middle of cooking the grits, so don’t worry too much – the seasoning rub can act just like a marinade in this case.
When your grits are close to being done, heat, in a large non-stick skillet:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
Once the butter is hot and smells nutty, add:
1 clove of garlic, pressed
When the garlic is fragrant, add the shrimp and saute for about 3 minutes per side, or until completely pink. Toss with:
2 tablespoons of chopped Italian parsley
Spoon the grits into bowls and serve shrimp on top or on the side; enjoy that taste of the south!
*In many cultures, seafood and cheese have no earthly business being served together. For the most part, I agree, but in this instance, the grits almost absorb the cheese so completely that it acts simply as a seasoning. Feel free to experiment.
Thanks for this. Lovely. I am hungry.
Can’t wait to cook these up!
When next you visit Boston, we must go to brunch at Highland Kitchen, in Somerville. They have some fantastic shrimp n’ grits, as well as perfect biscuits and great brunch cocktails.