Shrimp & grits

I’m not feeling very bloggy today, probably because I’m feeling just plain awful from the naughty sinus fairy who’s been visiting me the last few nights. Instead of leaving little trinkets under my pillow, this fairy jacks up my sinus tissue so it’s swollen and painful, and she blows a bunch of hot air into my forehead and eye sockets so I feel lots of pressure there. To add insult to injury, she also concocts some thick, nasty gunk to drip down the back of my throat, and for a little bonus, she saps all my energy, too.

I hate her.

Instead of waxing poetic about any number of topics, as is my habit in this space most days, I’m going to give you my recipe for shrimp & grits. I made it Saturday night, and it was scrumptious. If you’re not from the South and not familiar with grits, I’m so sorry, honey-child. It’s high time you  made yourself familiar with grits. Because I’m feeling nice, despite that bitchy sinus fairy, I’ll throw in my new favorite dessert recipe, too, with thanks to Debbie C for introducing me to this little bit of yumminess.

Shrimp & Grits:

  • 1 1/2 pound shrimp (at least 26-30 count), peeled & deveined and preferably from the warm waters of the Gulf coast
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 1 1/3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grits, preferably stone-ground and not quick or instant
  • 1 bunch green onions, white parts finely chopped and green parts diced (keep them separate)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie stock
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, diced or grated

Combine shrimp, lemon juice, and several big shakes of Tabasco. Let sit while you prepare the grits.

Make the grits in a large, heavy pot. Bring 6 cups water to a boil, along with a teaspoon of salt. Whisk in the grits a little at a time, being careful to watch that they don’t bubble up and boil over. After all the grits are in, lower the heat to a simmer and cook 30-40 minutes, stirring often, until they’re tender. If you have to use quick or instant grits, follow the package directions but plan to add an extra pat of butter to make them taste creamier.

While the grits cook, make the gravy: heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the white parts of the green onion. Saute until soft, about 3 minutes, then add the green parts. Sprinkle the flour over, stir, and cook for about 5 minutes until the flour browns a little but don’t let it burn. Stir in the stock and 1/3 t. salt. Whisk until smooth and slightly thick. Add shrimp and saute until shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes. Don’t cook too long, though, or they will get tough.

Add a splash of Tabasco to the cooked grits, along with the butter and cheese. Stir well so cheese melts. Serve a pile of grits on a plate, top with shrimp & gravy. At this point the room will go quiet except for the sounds of “mmmmmmm” coming from your guests. 

Dessert: not sure what the name of this is, but it’s similar to trifle, except that the cake is soaked in liquor instead of pudding (quite the trade-off, in my mind). It’s so easy, yet so good.

Here are your ingredients:

  • an angel food cake, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Chambord (raspberry-flavored liqueur)
  • a pint of whipping cream
  • a few tablespoons powdered sugar
  • assorted berries (I used a pound of halved strawberries, 2 pints of blackberries, and a pint of raspberries)

Sprinkle the Chambord over the cake bits. Don’t be shy; dousing is ok. Rumor was that the pastry chef was quite liberal with the booze last time around and everything turned out fine. Toss to coat.

Whip the cream with a mixer, adding a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time, until still peaks form and it is sweet enough for ya.

Layer the cake bits, berries, and whipped cream in a large bowl (a clear, footed trifle bowl is pretty but not required). Dig in.

You’re welcome.