I have had Shrimp and Grits (the composed dish) at a few restaurants over the past couple of years. Before that, quite frankly, I had not heard of it. In those restaurants, I discovered that there is quite a variation in dishes, building on the two key components, of course: Shrimp and Grits.
I like all the versions I have tasted, although some are more memorable than others. The other day, when I visited my favorite seafood monger, Indian River Seafood, they had some very nice large white shrimp on sale (their sales revolve around what is plentiful from that day's catch, not what is "left over", unlike some big box stores...I LOVE my local vendors!) These shrimp were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean the day before yesterday.
Anyway, I decided to try my own version of Shrimp and Grits. Hubby gives it the thumbs-up, so here it is:
Clean the Shrimp (some people leave the shells and heads on; I don't)
Chop all the herbs, garlic and the spinach (keep separate)
Grate the Cheese (plus some extra!)
Gather all the spices
Measure out the liquids and grits
Slice and quarter the Chorizo
For the Grits:
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine (I used Vendange California Chardonnay)
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 cup white Quick Grits
1/4 cup Parmesan or Asiago Cheese (Asiago is a spanish sheep cheese, a bit bolder flavor)
1 tsp. of Smoked Paprika (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp. Dried Red Chili Flakes (more if you like heat--but be careful, they are potent and can overwhelm the dish!)
1/2 tsp. cracked Black Pepper
Kosher Salt (to taste)
Put the Stock, Water, Wine, Cream, Paprika, Chili Flakes and Black Pepper (don't add salt yet) in a large saucepan, heat to a slight boil on medium high (it will take a bit longer, but you should stir it occassionally to reduce the chance of scorching the cream)
While whisking, add the grits, and keep whisking for about a minute, gradually turning the heat down to just simmer.
When the grits thicken slightly and the heat is on low-medium low, add the parmesan cheese, add salt to taste and let simmer while you make the other ingredients.
For the Spinach:
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
10 oz. Chopped Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 clove Garlic
a Dash of Kosher Salt
In a large Saute Pan, heat the Olive Oil on medium high to just below the smoking point.
Add the Spinach, stir
Add the Butter, Garlic and salt
Heat, stirring, until the spinach is wilted and dark green--about 3 minutes
Add all to the Grits (don't drain the juice--add it all) Stir together.
For the Shrimp:
12-18 Large Fresh Shrimp
1 clove Chopped Fresh Garlic, or Garlic Powder (to taste)
Cracked Black Pepper
A few red Chili Flakes, according to your taste for heat
In a bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic, salt and pepper
In the same Saute Pan, after you add the spinach to the grits, wipe the pan, and add another tablespoon of EVOO and heat on medium high to just below the smoking point again, then add the seasoned shrimp and the butter after the shrimp, and saute until they are just pink (the bits of garlic, butter, pepper, paprika, and salt will give it a nice color) and curled, but not too tightly--be careful of overcooking!
Plate the Grits while the shrimp are cooking (it won't get cold; the shrimp cook FAST!), and top with the Shrimp, and garnish with fresh Dill, Parsley and Grated Parmesan or Asiago. You may serve with toast points, or crusty bread (my personal favorite is anything Sourdough! LOL)
I hope you enjoy. I would love to hear if anyone tries this dish, how you like it, how easy or difficult you found it, and if you altered it....I always love to hear about variations! Thanks for reading!