Shrimp and Grits always reminds me of the kind of humble-but-awesome dish that my uncles might have made while working on shrimp and oyster boats down in Plaquemines Parish, with fresh seafood plucked straight from the bayous and the Gulf of Mexico. Almost every celebrity chef and notable restaurant has an iteration of it these days, but seafood and grits is a dish that belongs to everyday folks. The version I present here has a few little twists, but it could easily be made on a fishing boat’s camp stove or in your own kitchen on a weeknight.
What I used:
For the grits:
1 tsp salt
4 cups water
1 cup old fashioned grits (not instant)
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheeses
For the shrimp:
2 TBSP butter
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 TBSP fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
What I did:
In a large sauce pan, bring four cups of water and one teaspoon of salt to a boil. Slowly add the cup of grits to the pan, stirring gently to avoid lumps. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and creamy.
While the grits are cooking, prepare the shrimp. In a skillet, sauce pan or Dutch oven, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno, parsley, shrimp, dry seasonings and Worcestershire sauce. Stir frequently and cook until shrimp are pink and opaque and the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add stock and cover. Drop heat to low and simmer.
Return to the grits and remove from heat. Stir in the butter, the cheddar and the Italian cheeses.
Place a serving of grits in a bowl and top with the shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.
Makes about four servings.