Springtime brings us so many wonderful vegetables and fruits and one thing that I always look forward to is Green Garlic. Green Garlic is the immature bulb of garlic, which hasn’t formed cloves or dried out yet. It looks similar to a scallion, but can have a slight bulb on the bottom — it tends to have a purplish tint and the best way to identify Green Garlic, is the smell.
Cooking with Green Garlic is seasonally fun, and you can use it where you would add regular garlic or scallions. What makes it so special is the fresh mild flavor is adds to any dish, without overpowering it. You can use the whole stalk of Green Garlic, as you would a scallion or green onion, so don’t let any go to waste.
In this recipe for Shrimp & Green Garlic Grits, the Green Garlic is lightly fragrant, so it doesn’t distract from the corny grits taste. I have fallen in love with smoked grits, from a miller at Louismill in Kentucky. He mills fresh grits and flour weekly, I recommend you definitely ship some in for this recipe and to serve along with other dishes.
As for the shrimp, a light dry dusting of spices and a quick bath in a dab of butter with a splash of your favorite hot sauce – it’s pretty simple. I love to make Shrimp & Green Garlic Grits during the week for a delectable quick dinner, but this dish is great as a starter for a dinner party too. If you can’t find Green Garlic, you can substitute one clove garlic plus one scallion, but just head to your local farmer’s market – I’m sure it’s there.
1 stalk Green Garlic or 1 clove garlic + 1 scallion
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup good quality grits, not instant
2 cups jack cheese, about 6 ounces
2 teaspoons olive oil
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
1 scallion, diced
1. Wash and slice the Green Garlic. In a saucepan, add the sliced Green Garlic and olive oil. Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth and 2 cups of water and cook until simmering, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the grits and turn the heat to medium low. Continue whisking occasionally, to make sure the grits do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the grits about 15-20 minutes, until tender.
3. Add the grated cheese (grate your own please), 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 the shrimp, leaving the tails attached. In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, paprika, salt, cumin and cayenne, stir. Sprinkle the shrimp with dry spices on both sides. In a large saute pan, add the butter and hot sauce, place over medium heat.
5. When the butter is melted, add the shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes and flip over. Cook another 3 minutes and turn off the heat.
6. Spoon the grits into a large serving bowl, or individual plates if serving for a dinner party. Spoon shrimp over the top and sprinkle with sliced scallion. Enjoy!