Ahhh... Nothing eases the pain of getting up on a Monday morning more than a steaming hot bowl of GRITS! For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this divine concoction, Grits is a thick, corn-based porridge, common to the cuisine of the Southeast. This golden goop is perfect with only a pat of butter and dash of salt but additions such as meats (especially shrimp on the east or gulf coasts), sugar and my personal favorite CHEESE can kick it up a notch! I would say the most important thing about cooking these little beauties is to season them during the cooking process, otherwise you will have a pot of something that looks AND tastes like wallpaper paste. Grits are traditionally served in the morning in southern households and on St. Patrick's Day in Savannah, they are even served green!The good news is grits aren't just for breakfast anymore so please allow me to share a recipe for my favorite lunch or dinner entree:
Southern Style Shrimp-N-Grits
1 cup stone-ground grits
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (adjust to taste preference)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons, lemon juice
6 slices bacon, chopped into tiny pieces
1 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts (additional for garnish)
Fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the grits, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Stir grits well with a whisk. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook the grits until all the water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and both cheeses. Keep covered until ready to serve.
Fry all 6 bacon slices in a skillet, move to a paper towel to "degrease." Add the shrimp to the bacon grease in the skillet and sauté over medium heat just until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add your lemon juice, green onions and garlic to the shrimp and remove the skillet from the heat.
For serving, pour your grits into a vessel of your choice (soup bowl, coffee mug or even a martini glass for an appetizer portion) and top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with crumbled bacon, left-over green onions and additional CHEESE if you prefer.
Bon Appetit, y'all and be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!