Shrimp & Grits
Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL: http://cookingwithmichele.com/2009/03/shrimp-grits-can-you-say-comfort-food/
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Michele Morris
Shrimp and grits is way up there on the comfort food scale. We all know what those days are like – helping parents, helping kids, sandwiched in the middle trying to make time for yourself. Well, I was inspired after watching a Bobby Flay Throwdown against a shrimp and grits king to make it for dinner. Couldn’t you just dig into this?!I think a proper preparation all starts with bacon, and fortunately I had that ridiculously good, all natural, no nitrates bacon I had gotten from a local producer. Cut it into a dice and fry it up crisp, then fish it out of the pan and keep most of the bacon drippings in the pan.
Next make sure your other ingredients are ready – some finely minced garlic…
…some chopped green onions…
…and some peeled and deveined shrimp. Toss the shrimp with seasonings – I used a combination that the southern guy suggested on the Throwdown show, paprika, oregano, basil, salt and pepper (one of the rare times I’ve used dried herbs you’ll note).Next, cook the polenta so it’s ready when the shrimp come out of the pan. Bring chicken stock to a boil, stir in the polenta, and whisk like crazy until it thickens. I used instant polenta so that I’d have a creamier texture for this, but you can use regular long cooking polenta if you have it – just give yourself enough time.
When it has thickened, stir in some sharp cheddar cheese and a little bit of cream, then salt and pepper to taste. I also tossed in a little paprika to mirror the color and taste in the shrimp.
Reheat the bacon fat drippings and quickly saute the shrimp, garlic, and half of the green onions just until the shrimp are cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Spoon polenta into the bowl and top with the shrimp, making sure to scrape up every bit of the seasoned bacon fat drippings. (Like the shrimp and grits guy said on Throwdown, you only live once and if you do it right, that’s enough.) Top the dish with the remaining green onions and the crisp bacon and dig in.