I have noticed that sometimes when we lose something, or don’t get what we want, something different and better happens instead.
So it was last June when my sister and I, in Portland and on the hunt for chicken and waffles, joined the long line waiting for the restaurant Screen Door to open.
However, much to our dismay, after being seated we found out they don’t serve chicken and waffles on the dinner menu. So instead, we both ordered a different southern meal: shrimp and grits. I won’t even attempt to describe how good it was…just trust me!
Because I’m steering clear of desserts and refined sugar this month, I am forced to edge cautiously into the savory world of cooking. Shrimp and grits was the first thing that came to my mind as I have been daydreaming about that dinner ever since I had it!
If you live in the Pacific Northwest like me, grits may be something you’re not familiar with. They have a similar consistency to porridge. In this dish, they are made delightful with a scandalous amount of sharp cheddar cheese and butter.
I took a couple of liberties with this recipe – I used instant grits instead of stone-ground, and went with a “seafood medley” of herbs (parsley, dill and thyme) instead of just parsley. Thankfully, it was a big hit!
There are a lot of different recipes for shrimp and grits out there, but part of what makes this one so good is the presence of bacon, and the fact that the shrimp are cooked in the leftover bacon grease, along with lemon juice, herbs, scallions and garlic.
This is not necessarily the healthiest dish ever, and I promise there will be more of that soon! But it is easy, and unique. I’m already craving it again…
Shrimp and Grits
Recipe very slightly adapted from foodnetwork.com
4 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 cup instant grits
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or use a combination of parsley, thyme and dill)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced
Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Cook grits as instructed on the box. Remove grits from heat, and stir in butter and cheese until melted.
Rinse shrimp and pat them dry. Fry bacon in a large skillet until brown. Remove the bacon and drain it well. Cook shrimp in the remaining bacon grease. When shrimp is pink, add the lemon juice, parsley, scallions, garlic and chopped bacon. Saute for 3 minutes.
Spoon grits into bowls and top with shrimp. Serve immediately.