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Shrimp and Grits anyone?

Had some recently that were sauteed in butter, garlic and rosemary, atop coarsely ground grits. Anyone have some good recipes for this pretty simple dish?

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  1. I rarely make it the same way. Generally, I'll make it either creamy or thin. Thin sauces tend to be pretty lemony. A few ingredients that I keep in consistently are garlic and lemon and well, that's about it. After that, there's many directions you can go in...

    I've made a few different versions with bacon... that always seemed to go along really well with the rest of the dish.

    It's such an open-ended dish, it's really hard to give any good advice. Many, many variations... I haven't tried any rosemary though.

    1. I like mine with some tasso ham. Render the fat out of the ham and put the crispy bits aside, add some shallot and garlic, then the shrimp and plenty of black pepper (won't need much salt if any at all owing to the ham). Add some fresh thyme and a splash of white wine and maybe a pat of butter. Let the sauce come together and serve it over grits, top with the ham bits.

      If you want to go a bit more for a serious sauce, after you saute the shallots and garlic and shrimp, take the shrimp out and add a tablespoon or two of flour and make a bit of a roux, to whatever stage you like, for shrimp I like a blonde roux. Then add some stock and the thyme and let it thicken up, then add the shrimp back in to warm through. Again, serve over grits topped with the ham.

      1. Save the shrimp shells (and heads if you have them) and simmer them for about 10 minutes in water with a splash of white wine, a bay leaf and what not to make a broth in which to cook the grits. Add butter and or cream to taste to the grits as they cook. It is not, despite all common sense, redundant to put a creamy sauce over creamy grits. If you cook the shrimp in a brown roux, say the shade of peanut butter, you'll have a nice contrast of flavour and colour.

        1 Reply
        1. re: inuksuk

          I never throw shrimp shells away. If I can't use them in a dish to make a stock, I'll freeze them in a bag to use later. They add so much flavor to dish.

        2. I won't bore you with my recipe. Most of the tips I've read so far are good.
          I'll just tell you that I use shrimp stock when making the shrimp part of the dish. I've also made an andouille cheese grits for it to be served on a few time. Outstanding IMHO.


          1. This recipe is from the City Grocery in Oxford, MS:

            I've had it at the restaurant and it is fantastic. Planning to make it soon at home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: akp

              I can vouch for this one as well... Have had it a few times at the restaurant, and the recipe is all over the place, so I've made it at home as well.

              I like the way they do it at 208 S. Lamar as well... bit more South-Carolina-ish.

              If I'm going for creamy grits, I like to use the approach in Joy of Cooking for "low country cream style grits" (p. 350 in my edition). Basically, cook ~3/4 cups grits in about 3 cups of water with some butter and salt. When that gets thick after about 10 minutes or so, add in some chicken broth. Simmer that until it absorbs, and add in about 1.5 cups of heavy cream. Then simmer it a good hour or so. Plenty of oppurtunities to add in whatever other seasonings you like as well.

            2. I do bacon, mushrooms, white wine. shrimp and chopped green onions. I want the seasonings subtle so not to over power the flavor of the grits. I want my grits creamy. Just had this for dinner last night. Ordered the $$$ Anson Mills grits. It was the best ever.

              1. A friend from the Low Country explained Shrimp and Grits to me long ago. He said that I had to understand that the people who cooked it were poor folks who lived off the land. They would have sold the large shrimp to the broker and used the small shrimp they had left for their own home meal, using whatever else they had on hand. Pork of some kind. Ham scraps, bacon drippings, etc. That's what they commonly used for cooking fat.They weren't Cajun so they didn't have tasso. They didn't use butter. Too expensive and didn't keep. Same for cream for the shrimp or the grits. Maybe they had some onion. A little flour to thicken it. Plain cooking was the rule and they didn't use many herbs and spices beyond salt and pepper. Probably not even garlic. They didn't bother with stock because shrimp peels were trash. No fancy French influence had hit the back roads. How plain can you get?
                I've made it like that and it still came out good. But he said that once you understood the plain, historic origins of the dish, there wasn't any good reason at all why you couldn't change it to suit you liking. Everybody did so go ahead.
                I use a bit of sausage and stock but I never use very large shrimp in deference to the Low Country tradition. For a company meal, I use 26-30s, smaller for family. Since I use andouille or another good sausage, I don't need any other herbs, spices, or garlic. Never, ever wine. Never cream. No mushrooms. Good grits. Worth Anson Mills.
                This is a dish that should be a simple as possible. Seems like most of the recipes here are along the same lines. Shame that so many restaurant versions get it so wrong. Especially with the huge shrimp.

                10 Replies
                1. re: MakingSense

                  That's because with this dish, like so many others, the restaurant tries to hard. Of course, there are also retaurants that can't sell "Peasant food" at the prices so they have to add truffles or fois gras to it so the food snobs will eat it.

                  Of course, us hounds know better.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    DT, I admit to being a proud peasant. That's why I take such pleasure in knowing where dishes like this really come from. Trash and leftovers. Stuff that fisherman didn't/couldn't sell. Things they shot or trapped. Offal. Fish heads and bones. Making good food out of nothing.
                    It's strange that diners will accept Indian, Chinese, Thai or other exotic cuisines without luxurious ingredients but expect it in American cuisine when our native foods were historically not luxurious.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      Not just American. French as well.
                      I like just about all foods but I'm a big fan of the so called "Peasant foods." I think it's because there's so much more going on in them usually. Things braised in flavourful liquids for example have so many more layers to them it makes them much better.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        All cooking is about evolution and innovation and I've made my peace with that long ago but I hate that people do lose sight of the origins of the classics when certain things become trendy. Salad nicoise with seared rare fresh tuna. Crustless quiches? Pestos of anything and everything. Carry-out creme brulée. Someone criticized a soul food restaurant's greens because they "obviously weren't made fresh." Of course, not. That place cooks them for at least two hours.
                        Insensitive upgrades and alterations have sucked the soul out of many "peasant foods." Pity. They're some of my favorites, too, DT.

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          I had a food changing moment years ago when looking for a recipe for Red Beans and Rice. I was surfing looking for a recipe and what I ended up with was a lesson on what the dish is. Not a list of what's in it. From that day forward it completely changed the way I cook, appreciate what's cooked and where I go for resources.
                          In "Im Just Here For The Food", Alton Brown says something to the effect of, "If I gave you a map to my house you could find it as long as the road wasn't closed. If I explained to you where my house was located you could make your own map."
                          It was along those lines anyway.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            My food changing experience was my parents getting old. Daddy was Cajun from the country, Mama was Creole from New Orleans. In their 80s, they no longer enjoyed going to most New Orleans restaurants, saying the food had changed too much to please the tourists. They suddenly started telling me how food had been 60 and 70 years before and I started backing up my recipes for Cajun and Creole dishes. Revelation! Simple things like serving brown rice one day when I was out of white rice. I was sure Daddy would reject it but he said it was exactly like what they ate as children. Now that's what I use. Cajun food isn't spicy; put the Tabasco on the table not in the food, please. All the elderly aunts and uncles agreed heartily and loved to come for dinner.
                            It's been a lesson in my heritage and food history. Now I've taken the same concept to other dishes from other cuisines. Really enjoying it.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              That's perfect.

                              Too many cooks spoiling the pot these days I guess. Everyone has to add their own "Special" touch to stuff.

                              I've been thinking about this off shoot we've started here and have to wonder what roll food critics are playing in all this. It seems that a lot of them take the word "Critic" far too seriously. Criticize, criticize, criticize. Not take pleasure in simple foods. Not appreciate the same dish as someone else's but done better. But because instead of using olive oil like the had been used for hundreds of years but because they used truffle oil. Because instead of using shrimp boudin, use lobster boudin.
                              I guess it's like the desecration of the English language. We just don't live at a time when the tried and true are of much interest to people anymore.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                This shoot isn't so far off the track as Shrimp and Grits is one of the dishes that restaurants have changed into something far from its humble roots.
                                Cooks who have never been anywhere near the Low Country have been delighted to use a few dollars worth of relatively inexpensive ingredients (yeah, you can even get a pretty good deal on frozen shrimp if you shop around), tart it up with presentation, and charge a pretty penny. Drizzling it with froo-froo oils, serving it on grits or polenta cakes, three trophy sized shrimp, adding mushrooms and cream, hot peppers, as much sausage as shrimp, wine and Lord knows what else. The dish has lost its essence but the food critics judge it as something new instead of against the classic. Nobody knows or cares. When will Stouffers make a frozen version for food service or supermarkets?
                                Nothing we can do about it except learning where these classics originated, take pleasure in preparing them as we choose or enjoying the real thing when we are fortunate enough to still find it.

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  I find it really funny that the better a cook I'm becoming, the more I'm going backwards as far as recipes and their origin. Getting back to the basics and doing them much better. Rather than continually trying "Improve" things.

                                  Don't get me started on presentation. Probably the single most over rated thing in cooking.


                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    Okay, as a kid in Savannah I knew breakfast shrimp it was a much simpler dish than what shrimp and grits has become. After having Shrimp and Grits at Crook's Corner at the late Bill Neal's restaurant the dish was elevated for me. I love his recipe and don't mind the "improvements". I am very much a purist especially with traditional Southern recipes which is one of the reasons I abhore the Lee Bros, cookbook which is getting so many raves, Saigon Hopping John my $%#.

                                    Presentation, that is important to me, a dish that looks like as the old saying goes "a dogs dinner" is unappealing. A dish has to be visually appealing. I don't mean a dramatic and vertical presentation a la CIA. A case in point it is in our dining club a friend and I were assigned the same dish. It was a presentation of skinned chicken breasts, pounded flat and filled, rolled and sauteed and lightly braised. I took the time after preparing each roll to wrap it tightly in the thin gauze type cheese cloth before beginning the cooking process. After cooking and cooling I was able to unwrap the rolls which held their shape and made beautiful slices. My friends husband who made thier portion does not care what food looks like and could not be bothered with the way the dish was going to look like. It looked like road kill. Who wants to eat that?

                2. I do enchilada style shrimp & grits. Grits cooked thick with milk, cheddar cheese, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper. Top with large peeled shrimp cooked in Pace enchilada sauce, and then fresh cilantro. It's easy to make a big or small dish of it and was a hit at a dinner party I threw, even with people who had never had grits before.