Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shrimp and Grits – Breakfast for Dinner

I'm as open-minded as anyone. I'll try anything once, and have (this includes food), but when it comes to grits for breakfast, I just can't do it.

I know it's hugely popular in the south, and millions swear by it as the ultimate comfort starch, but nothing about it appeals to me, breakfast-wise.

I guess I love crisp-edged home fries so much that the thought of something so texturally opposite mingling with my bacon and eggs is too much of a stretch for me. Now, dinner is another story. I love shrimp and grits, and this will be the version going into the cookbook.

Shrimp and grits is a very simple recipe, but make sure you have your mise en place done before you start cooking the shrimp. They only take a few minutes to sauté, so you don't have time to run and chop scallions or juice a lemon.

As you'll see, once everything is assembled, this recipe is a snap. To make things even easier, you can make the grits a bit ahead since they stay hot a very long time. As always, if you make this and have any comments regarding the recipe, please pass them along. Thanks and enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:

For the grits:
1 cup white grits
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated white cheddar

For the shrimp:
4 strips bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoon lemon juice
dash of Worcestershire


PukaDog said...

Mmmmmmmm! Shrimp & Grits rates among my all-time favorite meals. A low-country classic. Chef John reaffirmed his all-around greatness by adding the white cheddar to the grits. Cheese grits are the best and the hands down best cheese grits are made with white cheddar and lots of butter.

One point of contention though. As someone who lives south of the Mason-Dixon line, cooking the thin, pasty instant grits is MORE of a mortal sin than yellow grits. You can get acceptable results with quick grits, BUT old fashioned coarsely ground grits are the only way to go. It's the original slow food. Stone ground grits are so much better it's not even debatable. The slower you cook them, the better the flavors you'll get. Warms the soul. Cook them too fast and you loose all the flavor and all-important texture. The best grits I've ever bought come from the Georgia Agrirama in Tifton, GA. They are well worth the mail order effort and expense. Anson Mills is an excellent brand, imho, and would be my 2nd choice. What a delight to see this recipe on Food Wishes. Made my day!

chad said...

That looks delicious! I was raised in the south, and I live and die by my grits, but I still to this day have not had shrimp and grits before. I'm definitely going to try this recipe out when I do eventually remember to buy some shrimp at the store.

Chef John said...

thanks! that was the only grits in the whole store. you know youre in cali

Jayne said...

I really hate to be one of *those people* that points out errors, but you didn't add the cheese to the ingredient list. I just thought you'd like to know.

Great recipe, as always!

Chef John said...

Thanks! Don't apologize, that's why I keep you guys around ;-)

Chris K. said...

I have to side 100% with PukaDog on this one. Stone-ground grits, cooked down slowly, until you get a nice fluffy texture. Doesn't hurt to stir in some of those bacon drippings, either.

Haven't tried Agrirama yet but I can attest to the quality of Anson Mills. You should be able to find them at Whole Foods or some such uppity marketplace.

I would've liked to see some shrimp stock worked into the sauce, but I understand the trade-off w/r/t simplicity.

You know what else goes well with cheese grits? Braised short ribs. Like a velvet-lined, slo-mo punch in the gut.

Chef John said...

Yes, if you guys are coming over for dinner, I'm doing shrimp stock, but for the book's audience, have to streamline a bit.

PrimeBrit said...

I use chicken stock instead of water when making cheesy grits. Americans that have tried my grits make a yummy sound and their eyes go big... I also only use one particular brand and I think that helps. Definitely doing this!

Toufas said...

chef, i know its a southern thing, but here in europe grits are not available... can polenta be used?

Dan said...

I'm with you on savory grits for breakfast. Blech. Many Southerners may think it blasphemous, but if I eat grits for breakfast, I add brown sugar! It's basically like eating oatmeal and can be quite tasty.

Chef John said...

yes! or semolina

EcoEcho said...

"If you guys are coming over for dinner..."

Is that an invitation?
Count me in!

Karen said...

whewww I'm curious but at the same time, not sure I want to go out and buy a bunch of grits and not like it. SCARY! I've gotten grits once or twice before and they've always been mehhh... I got them down at Roscoe's because of that wonderful gravy with fried chicken but if I had to order again, none of that please!

On the other hand, the picture looks good...

Chef John said...

well, that is quite the quandary

PC said...

Chef John, could you show us how to make pork crackling please?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John, I have a foodwish, I'd like to see your take on Mofongo. I found the recipe on the internet, Oh, and forget about the dip you prepared for the tostones. Here in PR we eat the tostones and the mofongo with mayoketchup, mayonaisse and ketchup with a bit of garlic. Hope you try it, you will be blown away!

Leslie said...

Mmm.I am a sucker for some gold ole shrimp and grits!

Anonymous said...

This is my first post on this site but not my first visit.I really like the recipes I have tried here.This recipe has to be one of my new favorites.Being from the south I have never had shrimp and grits.This is great as is and I wouldn't change anything.

Johnny Scott-Georgia

Ramona W. said...

Cooked this last night 5/2, absolutely delicious! I added more cream and lemon, I'm addicted to dairy. I served the shrimp over basmati rice. This was perfect for a Sunday afternoon, a very lazy one :)

Tamara said...

I have tried many recipes for Shrimp and Grits and have never found one that I liked. The flavor of the shrimp always seems to get lost in the cheese grits. That is until now!! I absolutely love this recipe. The sauce perfect connects the flavor of the shrimp with the grits. Thanks so much for this.

Chef John said...


NewYorker said...

Hi Chef John, I came across this recipe because someone mentioned agrirama grits (which I just had shipped to me and are SO good) in the comments and decided to try this recipe.

So, WOW! The only thing I would change next time is actually making more of the sauce because over the grits it's so good!

Thanks from Brooklyn!

Anonymous said...

OK. To the guy who said he's never had shrimp and grits before - they are amazing and I agree with the comment about the stone ground 'real' grits. One of the best all around dishes I ever had was in Beaufort, SC. We were at Parris Island picking up our new Marine and at an elegant sort of hole in the wall - I had lamb and rosemary grits and it was hands down one of the best meals I've ever had and we eat out a lot.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
After looking over numberous recipes, I picked yours because i didn't want a tomato based dish.. Your recipe was wonderful. I also added mushrooms to it and it was great. I understand its a southern dish and I wasn't introduced to the dish until i moved to Chicago and had the dish at an resturant called Wishbones. Where was this dish when I was growing up??

Thank you!!!

A GRITS(A girl raised in the south)....

1Bigg_ER said...

I'm on a mission to try at least 5 recipes a week from here.
Had shrimp and grits. Might have shrimp and grits every other day now!!!
Oh! scones are in the oven

aims said...

I'm a G.R.I.T.S. myself (Birmingham, AL), and I have to say I've always been a grits for breakfast kind of girl. The very thought of shrimp with a breakfast food was just wrong -- THEN I was dared to try shrimp and grits for lunch at a local restaurant a few months ago, and I must say it's a winner. I've been looking for a recipe that doesn't have quite as many ingredients as the restaurant used. I am looking very forward to trying this. Thanks for posting the video.


HoustonFoodinista said...

Hi there! What exactly did you use for cream if you don't mind me asking? Evaporated milk, half and half, heavy cream...??? A little lost, Can't wait to make this dish!

FIREBIRD said...

Try making your grits with 3 parts shrimp stock to one part milk (and thin with more milk if necessary as they cook) - makes a HUGE difference

Quinton Brantley said...

Over the Top !!
You continue to come to our rescue. Last afternoon was one of those, too tired to go out, to tired to cook in days when my wife said to check with Chef John. This dish was the best of its kind that we have ever experienced and we've traveled a lot. The white cheddar a huge plus, stone ground grits a must. Also, thx for that stir fry technique!!
Quinton in NC

Cherio said...

I have made this a few times now, it is fabulous, Thanks Chef John!!

Jorge Alonzo said...

Tried this recipe tonight and it came out great. Kudos for a great recipe Chef John. I did make the grits with some chicken broth and they came out very flavorful. The shrimp came out perfect. I did add a little more cream and lemon juice to give me more sauce to spoon over the servings. The only thing I'll change next time is that I'll scale back a bit on the salt since the bacon added plenty of that.

Shawn Donovan said...

Isn't grits just another form of polenta? If so, I'm willing to try it. Can't be too bad. I'll let you know. If I don't like it, I'll try shrimp and poleta. Now that I'm sure I'll love.