Shrimp and grits is an iconic Southern dish and easy to make at home. sometimes called breakfast shrimp that doesn’t mean you can’t eat it all day long. this dish tastes great for brunch or dinner, and anytime company’s coming. It’s down-home comfort food at its finest. Creamy grits come together with saucy shrimp, onions, peppers, and bacon in this flavorful rendition. If you’ve ever eaten it, you can understand why shrimp and grits has burst from the seaside shrimp shanties. otherwise it’s your good opportunity to enjoy this beautiful mixture you just have to follow the directions meticulously to succeed and I wish you a very good taste.
Shrimp and Grits: A History !
Shrimp and grits began as a simple dish, first appearing in South Carolina as a dish called breakfast shrimp. During prime shrimp season, many sailors began their day with shrimp cooked in butter and served over smooth, southern grits. Though the sailors were early adopters of this briny breakfast, it is now widely enjoyed as an iconic dish of the South.
What are Shrimp and Grits?
Shrimp and Grits is one of my mom’s favorite meals, so the dish has made a regular appearance on our weeknight dinner table for as long as I can remember. When I asked for her exact recipe, I got the usual response…« I don’t really use a recipe… » Instead, Mom and I chatted about the process of making our shrimp and grits, and I wrote down a more specific recipe from there. If you’re not familiar with this gem, Shrimp and Grits is a traditional dish in the Lowcountry of coastal Georgia and South Carolina. These days, you can find Shrimp and Grits in restaurants all over the south, including here in Virginia. While the combination was originally served as a breakfast dish, we’ve always enjoyed Shrimp and Grits for an easy weeknight dinner. The bottom line? You can eat these all day, every day!
The Best Grits to Use :
And while it may seem obvious, shrimp and grits all starts with the grits. Please, please, please try to get coarsely ground white grits for this. When Elise and I tried to find real grits (stone ground are best), or even coarse ground white corn… or any white corn, for that matter, we struck out here in Sacramento.
Other than Mexican masa harina, it’s all yellow corn in these parts. And I’ve heard more than one Southerner threaten violence when the topic of making grits with yellow corn comes up.
The best grits come from hominy, a large-kerneled, white corn that has been alkali processed just like that Mexican masa harina. The key difference is that in grits the corn be coarsely ground, ideally by a stone grinding wheel. It actually makes a huge difference in flavor. Good grits come out smooth, delicate and flecked with bits of the corn hulls that makes for a radically different experience compared to its Italian cousin polenta (which I also love). Keep in mind that almost all cooks who make shrimp and grits have their own variation on the dish. This one is mine, and I hope you like it.
What Are the Best Shrimp to Use?
Unless you live along a coast where you know fresh shrimp is actually fresh, you’ll most likely be using shrimp that’s been frozen. Fresh shrimp in many grocery stores is previously frozen and then thawed. Frozen shrimp is fine for this recipe. Just make sure it’s not precooked.
Medium or large shrimp work well for this recipe, and we recommend buying wild caught when it’s available. More important than the size of the shrimp is cooking it until it’s just cooked through (opaque and firm), not overcooked (rubbery).
How do you peel and devein shrimp?
To peel shrimp, cut and pull the head (if it’s still attached) and legs off. Using your thumb, release the shell from the meat by pulling the shell, starting where the legs were attached to the tail. You can leave the last segment of the shell on the tail end for presentation purposes. To devein shrimp, use your paring knife to make a shallow incision down the back of the shrimp to expose the dark-colored string. Use the tip of your knife to slowly lift it up and release it from the meat and discard. Follow this shrimp cleaning guide for more tips!
Tip 1: Fresh vs. frozen
It may seem counter-intuitive, but trust us: unless you’re certain that the “fresh” shrimp at your market has never been frozen, then frozen shrimp is a better, safer and tastier option. If you have access to fresh shrimp that you’re totally sure has never been thawed, be sure to cook it the same day you bring it home.
Tip 2: Rinse the shrimp and have a look-see (and a whiff)
When you’re ready to prep your shrimp, rinse them under cool water. If they’re frozen, let the cool water run over the shrimp until thawed (it will take just a few minutes). Now take a look. Your shrimp should be translucent and shiny (but not slimy!), with no detectable odor. Discard any that don’t seem “right.”
Tip 3: Remove the shell
If the head is on, hold the body firmly with one hand, and pinch and twist the head with your other hand’s index finger and thumb. You can save the heads (along with the legs and the rest of the shell) to make seafood stock. To remove the legs, hold the arc of the shrimp in one hand, and grasp the legs in the fingertips of your other hand and pull them free. To remove the shell, start where you removed the legs, peeling the shell back along the sides of the shrimp. Alternately, you can start where the head was, pulling the shell off down the back ridge of the shrimp.
Tip 4: How to devein
You’ll notice the vein as a dark ridge along the back of the shrimp. It’s the shrimp’s intestinal tract, and it’s actually edible, but most recipes call for deveined shrimp, and the larger the shrimp (think jumbo shrimp and prawns like those used in this recipe for Grilled Jumbo Shrimp), the more it can interfere with the taste (imparting its own briny, sometimes gritty flavor).
So, to devein—using a paring knife, cut into the shrimp along the ridge, just deep enough to tease the vein out with the tip of your knife. At that point, grab the vein with your fingers, and pull it back toward the tail of the shrimp. It should come off easily.
Tip 5: Rinse your peeled, deveined shrimp in cold water and get cooking!
What do grits taste like?
Grits have a subtle corn flavor and tend to have a neutral taste, which makes them a wonderful base.
Are grits gluten-free?
Yes, grits are gluten-free. Raw grits are naturally gluten-free because they derive from corn.
Are grits and polenta the same?
Although they have similar properties, grits and polenta are not the same. Polenta is typically made from yellow corn and tends to be coarser, while grits usually come from white corn and tends to be smoother.
- 4 to 5 cups water
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 2 large clove garlic, minced
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ teaspoon fresh blak pepper
- Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
- Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.
- Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.
Storage and Preparation Tips:
- This dish is best when served fresh. While you can certainly reheat the grits and the shrimp separately just before serving, the texture of both of these components is not ideal when prepared ahead of time and then re-warmed.
- Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I recommend storing the grits and the shrimp in separate containers, because they will need different amounts of time to properly reheat.
- Store cooked grits in one container and cooked shrimp in a separate airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- To reheat Shrimp and Grits: Again, it's not my preference to prepare shrimp and grits in advance. However, if you don't want your leftovers to go to waste, you can place cold grits in a bowl and add a splash of water or milk. Reheat in the microwave a minute at a time, stirring frequently, until it warms and becomes creamy again. When nearly ready, add the shrimp to the bowl and microwave about another minute or so until ho
Cook's Tips and Recipe Variations:
- I love Jumbo shrimp in this recipe (16-20 count per pound), but any size shrimp will work. Leave the tail on the peeled shrimp for a "fancy" touch!
- Make creamy Shrimp and Grits by adding a splash of heavy cream to the skillet with the shrimp at the very end. Allow the cream to bubble and thicken slightly before serving.
- Add 1 cup of grated white cheddar cheese to the grits at the very end (when you add the butter) for cheesy grits.
- Add about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms to the skillet with the garlic and green onions; sauté until tender, and then add the shrimp as instructed.
- Add ½ package of thinly sliced kielbasa sausage to the skillet with the garlic and green onions; sauté until browned, and then add the shrimp as instructed.
- This Shrimp and Grits recipe has just 360 calories per serving and it's packed with filling protein for a nutritious and satisfying meal. The dish is not low-carb or Keto-friendly. The ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free -- just make sure that you check your specific ingredients to make sure that they are not contaminated with gluten.