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Mar 24, 2004 12:32 PM

shrimp and grits

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Kind of an emergency here....I am looking for an easy shrimp and grits recipe to make for dinner TONIGHT! any ideas?

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  1. Cook grits using milk instead of water; add some cheese just before serving if you wish. Smoked gouda is really good. Just grate some and stir it in.

    Peel and devein shrimp. Either boil them in salted water, or with shrimp boil and drain. OR even better, saute in some butter and toss with some spices like lemon pepper or one of the off the shelf spice mixtures is good. I personally like them "kicked up a notch" so would use some cajun type seasoning. But not too much, so you keep the good flavor of the shrimp.

    8 Replies
    1. re: momma

      momma - I'm curious where you are from. Shrimp and grits with cheese new to me.

      1. re: danna

        I admit straight out that I have no experience with shrimp and grits but, as a Yankee who loves grits (kept simple: butter and black pepper), I was drawn to reading this thread. I just wanted to add this slightly extraneous point: the discussion here in part is very reminiscent of a long discussion from a few days ago on the General Topics board concerning the so-called "taboo' of Italian cuisine against putting cheese on pasta dishes that feature seafood. I argued at length (ad nauseum, perhaps) that there is no such taboo but rather that the issue is one of keeping things simple and featuring specific (and especially relatively delicate) flavours without too much competition from other ingredients. It seems some traditionalists in the shrimp & grits discussion have an Italianate approach, while others prefer much richer (or busier) preparations. I don't doubt that a dish which has garlic and onions and peppers and bacon and tabasco and cheese can taste good (I bet it does!), but how can the flavour of the shrimp come through all that competition? Given that good shrimp are expensive (at least where I am), I'm inclined to try to feature them in any dish they appear in (though a good stock made from the shells can really intensify the overall shrimp effect in a dish and allow for the use of other, strong flavours without masking of the shrimp element).

        Anyway, please forgive the intrusion of the this old Yank -- I've enjoyed reading the different views on shrimp and grits and will take the matter of increasing the grit-element of our diet up with my Tar Heel wife.

        1. re: Antonius

          FWIW, the bacon and onions and peppers (oh my!) et al are mainly garnishes. It's mostly the grits, which are cheesy and garlicky, and the shrimp. I think the first place I had it this way was at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill in the early 90's.

          Sheesh, if you think that's busy, I can't imagine what you'd say about jambalaya or gumbo.

          1. re: ted

            I've had probably every type of shrimp and grits imaginable and as someone from the lowcountry, I have to say:
            most grits you get, including the ones I was brouhgt up on are pretty bland, especially ones at your typical restaurants. My mother soaked them with butter or put salmon or fish roe and other (to me) yukky things on them.
            I made shrimp and grits last night because this thread made me think of them, and they got great reviews.
            Grits are a lot like polenta or I guess cream of wheat (which I've never eaten) or risotto; to be good they need to be coddled and made with broth or milk or even cream, to me.
            There is always room for improvement, and making them richer and adding garlic and tasso, and with liquids other than water make them MUCH better. The shrimp are an accoutrement, and should be able to stand on their own and complement the grits, in my opinion. There should be a balance and any seasonings or added flavors shuld also go along. It's such a simple dish, I believe anyone should add whatever they like as long as it's balanced, just like pizza; it's a palate to expound on. If you want old fashioned shrimp and grits, go for it, but it can be so much better. Same with soft shell crab and grits; grits really go with pretty much anything.

            1. re: mbmusgrove

              You said a mouth full!! Grits DO go with everything; we've eaten them as a side in place of potatoes with chicken, fish, steak, etc. What else can you say, it's the perfect food!!

            2. re: ted

              Rich and good...

              I didn't say I thought what you described sounded bad -- quite the opposite, in fact -- nor that everything has to be similarly simple to be good... On the other hand, to my taste, I'd generally rather eat shrimp without the competition from bacon and cheese (my doctor would prefer that I do so too). Nothing to get ornery about; it's just a matter of personal preference.

              By the way, Bill Neal, the original chef at Crook's Corner, didn't include any garlic or cheese (no bacon either, just drippings to fry the onions) in the shrimp and grits recipe in his book, but he was probably no longer around when you were there in the 90's. (I ate there in '95 but didn't get the shrimp & grits -- the meal was good but details escape me now.) If I get my cholesterol down, I'll try the current version next time I'm in the Triangle.

          2. re: danna

            Well, sorry; I am from Georgia; cheese grits are pretty standard around here, and in Florida panhandle; especially with catfish. Used to only see them with cheddar; bright yellow and sort of yuck looking. But lots of more upscale and trendy places are serving them. I had the cheese grits with smoked gouda at a really good place in downtown Pensacola a few weeks ago.

          3. re: momma


            What about the garlic in the grits? What about the bacon?

            The best versions I've made and/or eaten in restaurants were fairly straightforward. Cheese grits with some garlic, a little crumbled bacon, shrimp sauteed with onions/peppers, and either "pre-heated" or with some Tabasco on the side.

            Then there were the ones many years ago at Wishbone in Chicago. They must've used a cup of cream in the one serving. It was super-duper rich.

          4. I have a recipe from Louis's @ Pawley's Island. I would venture a guess that Louis Oteen's recipe in the lowcountry of SC is "the standard" by which all other shrimp & grits dishes are measured. However, the recipe is pretty elaborate and too long to post.
            (Like danna's post below, there is no mention of cheese though.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: sandlapper

              Guess I'm late anyway since you needed it LAST night!
              Hope it turned out OK.

            2. Here's a link to a great recipe that I use when I make shrimp and grits.


              1. Too late to help you this time, but what's in previous postings seems like fusion lowcountry, not the real thing. True lowcountry shrimp and grits is exactly what it says - shrimp and grits. In the morning, you take the leftover boiled shrimp from the night before out of the refrigerator, cook a pot of grits, peel the shrimp (I've never deveined a shrimp - if they're so big as to need deveining, they're probably better to use as bait shrimp for the day's fishing), mix butter into the grits, scatter the shrimp on the grits (artistically, if you prefer) and dig in. If children are at the table serve theirs with the shrimp standing in the grits tail first.

                You can't get more simple than this.

                The major difference in this approach is that the shrimp are allowed to furnish their own taste, rather than being masked by extraneous ingredients (especially cheeses, that tend to contribute a rather strong taste). Shrimp have a very delicate flavor that seems not to be allowed to stand on it's own in modern culinary practice.

                If you don't have leftover shrimp, just boil some, but they're better chilled.

                This dates back through 72 years experience to the time I could first chew shrimp.

                1. Thanks for all the tips and advice. I ended up using a Southern Living recipe a gentleman sent over email. The shrimp and sauce turned out well. The grits were the big hit, loaded them down with chedder and butter are cooked them for an hour. Thanks again for the help.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Aaron

                    Glad you enjoyed them.