Shrimp and grits is one of my favorite southern dishes. There is something about spicy shrimp on top of savory cheddar cheese grits that makes my mouth water.
Grits originated from the Native American Muskogee Indians who ground up corn in a stone mill. This porridge like meal was served to the early colonists who referred to this as “grytt” which means course meal. Later, grits evolved in a staple food found throughout the south and was considered to be a poor southerner’s porridge.
This lowcountry dish was made popular in 1982. The lowcountry is referred to as South Carolina and Georgia coastline. Chef Bill Neal came up with a recipe for Shrimp and Grits for a restaurant “Crook’s Corner” in Chapel Hill North Carolina. The New York times published his recipe in 1985 and the popularity for shrimp and grits soon became widespread.
Today, grits is still a traditional porridge like dish served throughout the south as a simple breakfast option in place of hashbrowns. Most southerners eat their grits with butter, salt and pepper.
Shrimp and Grits
- 1 lb raw shrimp, shells removed and cleaned
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon non salt herb seasoning (or you can use thyme instead)
- 1/4 teaspon salt
- grits (use the amount on the box per serving)
- 3/4 cup shredded chedder cheese (add more if you are preparing for more than 2 people
- 4 slices bacon cut up into small pieces
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 small red pepper diced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 2-3 Tbsp green onions finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Add all of the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl (i.e. garlic, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, thyme,and black pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat evenly.
- Prepare these according to the directions on the box. It will tell you how much grits you will need per serving.
- Toward the end of the cooking time (within the last 5 minutes) add the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted. If the grits become too thick add a little extra milk (NOT WATER). The grits should not be runny but they should not be thick like mashed potatoes either.
Shimp and Vegetables
- While the grits are simmering on the stove, heat the olive oil in a frying pan until hot. Add the bacon and fry until it starts to brown.
- Add the onions and bell pepper and fry until it gets begins to soften.
- Add mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and fry until they are soft and cooked.
- Remove vegetables in a bowl. Add shrimp to the frying pan. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.
- Fry the shrimp just until it turns pink. Do not overcook the shrimp otherwise it is tough. If you need to do these in batches, take out the cooked shrimp and add to the vegetables.
- After all of the shrimp is cooked, take all vegetables and shrimp and vegetables and add back to the frying pan for 1 minute until it is warmed. You can mix in some of your favorite hot sauce if you like it spicier.
- Divide the grits on individual serving plates. Top with shrimp and vegetables. Sprinkle the green onion over the top. Enjoy!