Hold the phone because I’m about to expand your universe just a little bit with Shrimp & Grits. The first time I had really great grits was at a restaurant in Frisco, TX called Zea’s. The restaurant specializes in Southern entrees with a twist. For example, you can order a plate of Thai ribs with a side of cheese grits. WHAT?! I don’t lie. Why don’t you go there yourself?
Then, about 1 year later, I picked up a Food&Wine’s Best of The Best cookbook (Vol. 9 2006 edition) and found a fairly simple recipe for Shrimp & Grits. I am not asking you or recommending this dish to you. I am telling you that this dish will forever change your life even if just a little. I got to make this dish again today for a group meeting and I think everyone in the group enjoyed the tartness of the lemon juice and the savory grits tied together with bacon. Bacon. Cheddar. Shrimp. I’ve said my peace.
You’re going to need:
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, left whole if small and roughly chopped if medium or large
- 6 slices of bacon, chopped into tiny pieces
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts
- 3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
- small box of baby bello mushrooms sliced
OKAY LETS DO THIS!
1. In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté mushrooms until brown and move aside. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to boil. Add the grits and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well with a whisk. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cook the grits until all the water is absorbed, about 10 -15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Keep covered until ready to serve.
2. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned and crisp, then drain on a paper towel. Add the shrimp to the bacon grease in the skillet and sauté over medium heat until they turn pink on both sides. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Immediately add the lemon juice, parsley, green onions, and garlic. Lastly add the mushrooms, stir and remove skillet from the heat.
3. Pour the grits into a serving bowl. Pour shrimp mixture over the grits. Garnish with bacon bits.
4. If you are serving this as an appetizer, spoon 1/4 cup grits onto a bread or salad plate. Top with 1/4 cup of the shrimp mixture. Garnish with a sprinkling of crisp bacon bit and serve immediately.