Shrimp and grits is one of my favorite dishes. For those of you not from the South, shrimp and grits is a Lowcountry classic; it was originally served as breakfast to hungry fisherman and shrimpers during shrimp season, but has seen a revival and is now very trendy. It’s not unusual to find shrimp and grits on brunch, lunch, and dinner menus and I’ve even had it served to me as part of a “grits bar” at weddings.
Recipe: Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and grits is something I’ve made for a while and it’s what I served to my mother on her birthday. I needed a new recipe and I wanted to create a one dish meal and avoid serving a vegetable on the side. I was lucky enough to find several recipes that I merged together to create this one. I think it’s my best recipe creation to date.
Shrimp and Grits – Serves 4
1½ pounds unpeeled large shrimp
1 pound fresh asparagus
3 slices bacon (optional)
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 (8 oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 bunch green onions, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons white wine
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon Tabasco (optional or to taste)
Salt and pepper
4 cups milk (whole is best)
1½ teaspoons salt
1 cup uncooked grits (old fashioned or stone ground, not quick cooking or instant)
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon pepper
Peel and devein shrimp. Snap off and discard tough ends of the asparagus. Cut into 1 inch pieces
Cook bacon in a large skillet until crunchy. Remove, crumble, and set aside. Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon drippings from the pan. Melt two tablespoons of butter in with the drippings. If you aren’t using bacon, melt an extra tablespoon of butter or use 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Meanwhile, bring the milk and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat for the grits. Slowly whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low (make sure your grits don’t burn on the bottom or bubble too much) and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter, and pepper.
Add mushrooms to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in asparagus and green onions; cook for 2 or 3 minutes longer. Stir in garlic and thyme, season well with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional few minutes or until the mushrooms look browned. You may need to add a little more butter or oil to keep everything from getting too dry. Stir in wine, then shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and Tabasco, if using. Season with a little more salt and pepper and cook just until shrimp turn pink. Serve immediately over warm grits.