Living in the Low Country where the best shrimp in the world is harvested, one is soon drawn to a variety of shrimp recipes and there is one dish that is so classically Charleston which always comes to the forefront. This was and still is a great breakfast recipe, but I love it for dinner. There are as many Shrimp and Grits recipes here as there are Charleston kitchens. I play around with the elements, sometimes adding cheese to the grits and sometimes adding chiles or okra to the shrimp element. I always use tomatoes, small shrimp and really good grits.
Let’s talk about grits for a moment. This dish would be seriously compromised by anything other than the very best stone ground grits you can find. I prefer mixed grits, a combination of yellow and white grits. If you live in Europe, you can use coarse polenta. Polenta is always made with yellow corn. Whereas southern grits are available in yellow and while as well as mixed (my favorite). Speckled grits mean that they leave the hull of the corn on (also my favorite). I do like polenta for some things, it is not the same as good southern stone ground grits. At the bottom of this post I am adding a few links to what I consider the best online sources for the best grits. I am lucky that I can buy mine from Celeste Albers at the Charleston Farmer’s Market. But you can buy really great grits online now.
Now, let’s talk shrimp. Buy wild caught when you can. For this recipe I really like small shrimp. Not the tiny ones for salads, but about an inch or two long. Buy them with the shells on and peel just before cooking. If you freeze shrimp, put them in a zip lock bag and fill with water, making an ice block. There will be no freezer burn. I am lucky to be able to go to the docks and get shrimp caught that day here. You may not be so lucky. Our shrimp season is from June-December give a week or two. This is to promote sustainable fisheries. Our shrimp are born early in the year and grow in our incredible estuaries (a series of creeks, marshes and rivers) and then swim to the sea in late May.
On to the recipe! This is one of my favorites, but I play around with it all of the time.
Shrimp and Grits Sassy Spoon Style
My grits recipe is done in a rice cooker, but if you do not have one, follow instructions on the bag. Here is a link to my recipe: https://sassy-spoon.com/2012/07/19/grits-in-a-rice-cooker-perfection/
- One recipe of grits for four, cooked
- 3/4 pound small shell on shrimp, shelled
- 1/2 cup of butter &/or olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves finely chopp
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of sliced okra (optional)
- 1/4 cup chives
- 2 cups tomatoes chopped
- Pork in one way or another. In this recipe I used a Chinese sausage. You can also add cooked bacon or andouille sausage.
- Your favorite hot sauce
- Sea salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper
- If using sausage or bacon, brown slightly in a skillet, remove and reserve
- Put the butter/oil in the skillet
- Add onion and saute till the onion just starts to turn golden.
- Add garlic and saute another minute
- Add tomatoes, herbs, hot sauce and seasonings, cook for 10 minutes on simmer
- Add shrimp and stir. It will be ready when the shrimp starts to turn pink.
- Scoop out the grits and top with the shrimp mixture
- Garnish with chives or parsley
Here are some sources for great stone ground grits.
- http://www.ansonmills.com/products (true heritage grains)
- http://shop.noramill.com/Grits_c2.htm <— This is one of my favorite places, if you are ever in the Atlanta area, make the trip north to Helen, GA where this mill on the Chatahoochee River stone grinds these heritage grains. They have wonderful flours and baking mixes too.