How the topic of shrimp and grits came up one night while watching So You Think You Can Dance (one of the best shows on TV, by the way), I really don’t remember, but it did. And then it kept coming up. My friend, Laine, and I decided that they are simply awesome and I told her that I would make her some soon. The next night I was watching a little late night Food Network, and what was on? Bobby Flay’s Shrimp and Grits Throwdown! Of course, now I had grits on my mind, so the next day at work, a co-worker and I were waxing poetic on their virtues for quite awhile. Inevitably, the next Wednesday, when Laine planned to come over for the latest installment of SYTYCD, I decided to whip some up for dinner. Only problem was, despite my efforts to let her know, she didn’t realize what I was making and decided to skip dinner and just join us for the show. Well, she was at least a little disappointed when she realized what she had missed out on. So, of course, I promised that I would make the dish again on our next TV night. Well, you know how I don’t measure and don’t really write down what I use unless I’m blogging? That really worked out for me this time around. This week’s version was clearly far superior to the previous week’s. The earlier batch was a little too spicy and being that I forgot to start the dish out with the bacon and had to add it separately at the end, it really lacked the porky essence that makes shrimp and grits so special. Luckily, I had already decided that I would blog about this dish the next time I made it, so now, I (and you) will always know how to make the version that quickly became Laine’s Favorite Shrimp and Grits. BONUS: From start to finish this meal takes less than 20 minutes to prepare!
Lemon Zest and Juice
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Cheddar Cheese (I always use extra sharp)
Since this is a pretty quick process, you want to gather up all of your main ingredients before you start.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low. Chop the bacon into about one inch pieces and add to the pan. While the bacon is cooking. Chop the onions and mince the garlic. When the bacon is golden, drain off some of the fat, return to the heat, and add the onions and garlic.
If your shrimp are frozen, you can defrost them now. I do this by placing the frozen shrimp in a large bowl and covering with cool water. They defrost pretty quickly this way. Then you can peel them and pat dry.
Start grits by following package instructions for the amount you are cooking.
While the grits cook, toss your shrimp into the skillet with the bacon.
Season with salt and pepper.
When the grits are thickened and cooked according to the package, add a generous splash of milk.
Next, you can stir in some shredded cheddar cheese and butter to taste. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer, covered until your shrimp is finished. Stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking.
Your grits should be smooth, rich, and creamy at their finish.
When the shrimp is almost cooked through, use a microplane to grate in some lemon zest.
Now, the final step is to prepare the sauce.
First, add a hefty glug of chicken stock and use a spoon to scrape up any brown bits and incorporate it into the sauce.
Next, add in about an equal amount of tomato sauce.
Then stream in hot sauce to taste.
Stir it all up to combine and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for another minute or so. While it simmers finely chop up a bit of fresh parsley. Now add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley.
You’re Done! Seriously, I know there is a lot of multi-tasking involved here, but it’s totally worth it and really only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish until you can ENJOY!