Shrimp and Grits

Recipe Date: February 12, 2024
Difficulty: Medium
Measurements: Imperial (US)

There’s nothing like a simple bowl of shrimp and cheesy grits for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This recipe relies heavily on fresh tasty stone ground grits. If you can find Jimmy Red grits, all the better. This heirloom variety has a beautiful sweet corny perfume and tender yet slightly chewy texture. They’re delicious in this dish or on their own with a little sprinkle of salt and a pat of butter. Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits, Jimmy Red variety if possible
  • 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, sliced horizontally into ¼ inch pieces
  • 24 large 16/20 peeled and deveined shrimp, sliced in half along vein line
  • ½ cup water or simple shrimp stock, recipe follows
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions for garnish

Directions

1. Bring 4 cups of water, 1½ teaspoons of salt and 3 tablespoons of butter to a rapid boil in a heavy saucepan (you can start with 4 cups of water and add a 5th as needed while cooking).

2. Whisk in grits and stir well until water boils again.

3. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and continue cooking for 35-40 minutes, stirring often, adding water if needed.

4. When the grits are thick and grain is tender, season to taste with salt and add additional butter if you like richer and creamier grits. Cover and set aside off heat.

5. While the grits are cooking, fry the bacon over medium heat in a nonstick or cast iron skillet until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to set aside on a paper towel lined plate.

6. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Place skillet over medium high heat.

7. Quickly pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet.  Cook until just cooked and pink about 1 minute per side.

8. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and ½ cup of shrimp stock and stir until melted and liquid is hot. Reserve in the pan.

9. Remove the cover from the reserved grits. If they have stiffened, add a little hot water and stir to loosen. Stir in the cheese until melted. Season to taste with salt. Add a little more butter if desired.

10. Spoon the grits into a serving bowl or individual bowls. Spoon the shrimp over. Spoon the skillet juices over the top. Sprinkle with the bacon and sliced green onions. Serve immediately.

Recipe: Simple Shrimp Stock

Jimmy Red Grits from Marsh Hen Mill may be purchased from The Vineyard Kitchen Larder.