We’re not Southerners, and until a few years ago knew not of shrimp & grits … or even grits for that matter. But we were exposed one night at a restaurant in downtown Tucson, and last night I decided to tackle the dish at home. I adapted my recipe from one I found on the Food Network, chosen because it looked easy, with simple ingredients. It was that and more: easy to prepare and delicious.
1 lb medium sized (41-50 or 36-40) shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 cup sliced scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
Boil water, add salt, pepper, and grits. Stir until smooth, reduce heat, cook 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter and cheese.
Rinse shrimp and let dry on paper towels. Fry bacon in skillet, place on paper towel when done, then chop. Keep some of the bacon grease in the skillet. Add shrimp to skillet over medium heat, cook until pink on both sides. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions, garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes.
To serve, spoon grits into shallow serving bowls. Spoon shrimp mixture on top.
You can buy frozen shrimp in various sizes, already peeled & deveined. We always keep a couple of bags in our freezer.
Our local Safeway stocks instant grits only; we had to look elsewhere for regular (stone cut) grits. Polenta would be an acceptable substitute.
Some recipes call for mixing the shrimp into the grits before serving. We thought it would be more visually appealing, and taste just as good, to serve it with the shrimp on top of the grits. An additional benefit of serving it this way: you’ll have leftover grits, which you can refrigerate, then slice and fry in butter for breakfast the next day (you can do the same thing with polenta).
Added (8/19/21): variations are easy. Last night I made it with sliced hot links in place of the bacon, which gave it more of a cajun flavor and appearance. Ditalini’s verdict? Outstanding!