If you have ever traveled through the Southern states of our country, you will notice grits are a staple at mealtime. Stone ground, white or yellow – grits are served alongside eggs at breakfast, or drizzled with maple syrup for a sweet treat, but you most often see them served as Shrimp and Grits at dinnertime.
Sweet shrimp sprinkled in a dry rub for an extra hit of flavor and sauteed quickly in a pan is all this seafood needs. The contrasting gentle sugars from shrimp and a pinch of heat from cayenne pepper is something you begin to crave when spending time in the South. I’d say it’s probably one of the most popular dishes you often see in restaurants.
The grits are stirred until creamy and smooth, then piled with a bunch of perfectly cooked pink shrimp — a truly satisfying meal. Something easy enough to prepare in your own kitchen and delightful for a weeknight meal, or dinner party on the weekend.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup good quality grits, not instant
2 cups jack cheese, about 6 ounces
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12-18 jumbo shrimp
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons hot sauce, any variety
1 scallion, diced
1. In a saucepan, add garlic, scallions and olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes.
2. Add chicken broth and 2 cups of water and cook until simmering, about 3 minutes. Whisk in grits and turn heat to medium-low. Continue whisking occasionally, to make sure grits do not stick to bottom of pan. Cook grits about 20-25 minutes, until creamy.
3. Add grated cheese, and whisk until creamy smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place on simmer to keep warm.
4. Remove any shells or veins from shrimp, leaving tails attached. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, paprika, salt, cumin and cayenne, stir. Sprinkle shrimp with dry spices on both sides. In a large sauté pan, add butter and hot sauce, place over medium heat.
5. When butter is melted, add shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes and flip over. Cook 3 minutes more and turn off heat. Spoon grits into a large serving bowl, or individual plates if serving for a dinner party. Place shrimp over top and sprinkle with sliced scallion. Enjoy!