I feel under qualified to be talking about grits. Coming from the Midwest, grits are not exactly an everyday food. In fact, an upbringing and solidified love for farina and creamed wheat cereals is what led me to believe I would love a bowl of grits equally, and so when the opportunity arose to order them on a road trip well into my teen years, I did just that.
I’ll leave it at this: Truck stop grits are not the type you fall in love with. Still, there was something to that bowl of white and creamy food with a big pat of butter melting on top. I was not to be thrown off course in my desire to adopt grits as my new “it” food. It had all the same promises as my breakfast favorites, but with expanded possibilities for my palate. At the top of the savory list: shrimp and grits.
Creamy, cheesy grits get topped with vibrant shrimp and crisp green onions. What’s not to love about this? The idea of adding butter and cheddar and plump shellfish to a bowl of warm comfort food seemed to me like a decision that was already made in the affirmative. So I set out to learn as much as I could about grits.
The first issue was obtaining them. Outside of the generic “quick-cooking grits” on the market shelf, there weren’t many options at first in the urban Midwestern area I lived in. I finally settled on making grits with white cornmeal to begin my experiments and then ordering online. Traditional grits are made from hominy, alkali-treated corn, and were stone ground in a rough, coarse texture. You’ll find both white corn and hominy when looking, so determine which you want to go for.
Once you have the grits in hand (or nearly grits), the rest of the preparation is satisfyingly simple, and the payoff is pure comfort food. It’s the kind of meal that leaves you satisfied at the end, the type of dish that begs to be made again and again.
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold Dubliner)
3 slices thick-cut bacon
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed (if desired)
½ cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk in the grits. When all the grits have been added, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 25 minutes. Keep the butter and cheddar cheese ready off to the side.
While the grits are cooking, in a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces, leaving the grease in the pan and add in the garlic and the shrimp. Cook the shrimp over medium heat just until pink.
Add in the scallions, parsley, and the lemon juice. Cook for 3 minutes to combine the flavors and then remove from the heat and stir in the bacon pieces.
Stir in the butter and shredded cheese at the end of the cooking time for the grits. Immediately spoon into a bowl and top with shrimp and bacon to serve.
Sometimes an episode of a great cooking show will get stuck in my head and never let me go. It is often the case with the infamous Barefoot Contessa. Let’s face it, there is very little from that show that would not make me happy. Fancy food, fancy friends, a florist pal who brings the perfectly arranged flowers to every meal, the husband who jets off in his convertible to pick up the perfect wine or cheese to compliment all of my suppers. It all sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? It is one of those episodes that I could not escape from and decided to finally recreate the perfect shrimp scampi.
I have started a tradition of making a fancy Sunday supper each week for our family. I love Sunday afternoons spent in the kitchen while my husband keeps the kids entertained. I have been trying to challenge myself to make those dishes that I have always wanted to try and allowing myself the chance to truly enjoy the cooking process, instead of simply rushing to get everyone fed.
This Shrimp Scampi is sinfully delicious. Jumbo shrimp are coated in a topping created from fresh herbs, crunchy panko, a tiny bit of heat from red pepper flake, and an unbelievable amount of butter. The results yield a perfectly rich shrimp that is the perfect topper to a pile of linguine and a loaf of bread to mop up all the deliciously buttery sauce.
Delicious shrimp are coated in a butter coating of panko, fresh herbs, and a hint of lemon and spice. These are the perfect topper to your favorite pasta!
2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
¼ cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
⅔ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on.
Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.
In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper until combined.
Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish.
Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly.
If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute.