I’ll start off this post by saying that I have a sort of squidgy relationship with shrimp. By squidgy I mean that I will eat them provided they’re small enough and not overcooked. Other than that, shrimp and most other forms of seafood make me a bit squirmy. It’s a texture thing. I absolutely, completely CANNOT stand those giant shrimp. The idea of eating one of those is equivalent to the idea of eating a large caterpillar. Just. Can’t. Do it.
However, I married a native Mainer who has seafood adoration in his genes. Part of the marital contract is that I will cook seafood from time to time, and he will take out the trash and kill spiders. Really, it’s in the contract. 🙂 I have spotted recipes for shrimp and grits floating around teh interwebs for awhile now, and the idea intrigued me. I’ve had grits before, but only for breakfast, and I’ve certainly never attempted to make them at home. And, you know how I feel about shrimp. The decision was made, though, when I came across this recipe for shrimp and grits and BACON. Bacon fixes everything for me. Happily, I had some bacon left over from the corn chowder I made recently and shrimp were on sale at the grocery this week, so it seemed Meant To Be.
In short, this meal is delish. I used small shrimps (cocktail sized), and added some garlic and crushed red pepper to the bacon mixture. My first experience cooking grits at home was a smashing success, and the grits and shrimp went amazingly well together. I will absolutely be making this again. In fact, I have been daydreaming about what else I can pile on top of these grits. I’m thinking maybe a nice medium-rare sliced steak, or even some grilled veggies. Overall, this meal is super quick (really…make sure you have everything ready and prepped before you start!), so tasty, and wonderfully filling. The only caution I would give is that this is a multitasking dish. To avoid overcooked shrimp or gloopy grits, you need to basically prepare both elements at the same time. If you have your ingredients prepped, this is not hard, and once you get started the steps are so few that it’s not complicated at all. And, believe me, the end result is totally worth that little bit of extra planning! 🙂
Shrimp and Grits
Adapted from Foodwhirl
1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined
8 strips bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh thyme or chives (optional)
1 cup quick grits (not instant)
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 Tablespoon butter
In a large skillet, render bacon over medium heat to desired doneness (I like mine nice and crunchy). Toss in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook quickly, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove bacon mixture from pan and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water and 1 Teas salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once water boils, add grits, stirring well, and reduce heat. Cook per package instructions (usually 5 minutes), until thick and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and butter.
Toss your shrimp with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add shrimp to bacon grease in hot skillet, and cook over medium heat until pink and opaque (about 2-3 minutes per side). Remove skillet from heat and quickly stir in bacon mixture. At this point, if your grits are not done yet, it is a good idea to remove the shrimp mixture to a dish to avoid overcooking via the residual heat in the skillet.
To serve, scoop a portion of grits onto a plate. Top with shrimp and bacon, and snip some chives or thyme over the top, if using. Enjoy!