With so many complex recipes for fancy meals, it’s nice to know that you can still make an elegant dish with only a few ingredients. Because of its simplicity and relative healthiness, one of my favorite southern dishes is shrimp and grits.
I have to thank Chef Rick Heald, the executive chef of the Georgia Dome for making this dish when I was a reporter in last year’s Falcons/Jaguars game. In his honor and because of Lent, I present my own version: Shrimp & Cheddar Grits. To all those who are giving up meat for the next 40 days, this is a recipe you may actually want to eat for the full 40 days.
This version replaces the classic bacon grease for heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil. I think it tastes better and the fact that it’s better for you makes it more enjoyable.
- 1 14-oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth (I prefer Imagine Foods)
- 1 ½ cups water
- ¾ cup quick grits, (do no confuse this with instant grits)
- ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided
- ¾ cup extra-sharp or sharp Cheddar cheese (I prefer Cabot)
- 1-lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp (this yields about 15-20 shrimp)
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (I prefer Castelas)
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ½-1½ tsp. Cajun seasoning (I prefer Cajun Injector)
- 1-2 pinches Kosher salt
- Preheat broiler, place rack in upper third of oven.
- Bring water and broth to a boil in a large saucepan. (Use medium-high heat). Whisk in grits and ¼ tsp. of pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally. You want the grits to thicken (about 5-7 minutes)
- While grits are thickening, toss shrimp, scallions, oil, garlic powder, Cajun spices, the remaining ¼ tsp. pepper and salt in a medium bowl.
- When oven is heated, put shrimp in a baking sheet (rimmed is preferred) and broil, turning shrimp over once and removing once they are pink and just cooked through (about 5-6 minutes).
- Remove grits from heat and stir in cheese. Cover mixture to keep warm.
- Serve grits and top with shrimp and scallions mixture.