Shrimp ‘n Grits
Want to know the secret to making the best Southern grits? Cream cheese and chicken stock.
Over the years I have been perfecting my recipe for shrimp and grits, and anyone who has stayed at my house within the last year has been one of my inadvertent tasting judges. And so, I bring to you the best shrimp and grits recipe this Southern girl can dish out. Grits is one of those foods that many non-Southern people turn their nose up at because, first of all, it doesn’t sound very appetizing and also the texture is quite unique. Grits is merely corn ground into a coarse meal that is meant to be boiled in milk or water. By itself, grits really doesn’t have much taste, so many people add salt, butter, pepper, cheddar or even sugar to make it flavorful. My secret weapon is cream cheese. With cream cheese they are smooth, creamy and delicious.
The majority of grits sold in the United States come from the region known as the “grits belt,” which runs along the states between Texas and Virginia. Like corn, grits can be yellow or white, depending on the type of corn used. While grits doesn’t have enough nutrients to qualify for super-food status, they do offer some nutritional value and have a place in a moderate- or high-carb diet. However, this recipe takes grits to a not-so-healthy level with the addition of cream cheese, bacon and butter.
For this recipe I use locally sourced fresh jumbo shrimp with the addition of asparagus, shallots, garlic and sherry, which makes for a very savory dish. Feel free to substitute green pepper for the asparagus or add diced tomatoes if you wish. You can even kick it up with Cajun spices and spicy sausage. Trust me, I have experimented with many variations and they are all delicious.
Once a popular morning meal throughout the South, shrimp and grits is no longer restricted to breakfast tables below the Mason-Dixon line. Versions of the dish now appear on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus across the country from Maine to Oregon. At anytime of the day, this is down-home comfort food at its finest.