Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Chris Amirault

eG Cook-Off 55: Shrimp & Grits

Recommended Posts

Welcome to the eGullet Cook-off 55: Shrimp & Grits. Click here for the Cook-off index.

Let's just start with a shameful fact: until this moment, eG Forums has had no topic dedicated to making this classic southern dish. True, there's this rambly topic on the origins and particulars of shrimp & grits, and this one on a shrimp & cauliflower "grits" project by Chappie, and a couple dozen on grits basics. But nothing focused on preparing shrimp & grits.

Perhaps this is because many think of it as a dish without need for specificity or even care. I mentioned to someone recently that I had to do some prep for a shrimp & grits dinner; he retorted, "How much prep is there?" I suppose you could toss some grits into boiling water, toss some shrimp into a skillet, dump B onto A and call it done.

But that seems unfair, doesn't it? The grits below can be a simple foil for dolled-up shrimp, or they can be the luxurious star, creamy, cheese-y, and more. Additional ingredients, garnishes, and accompaniments vary widely, too. If you've had a top-notch version of the dish, you know it isn't just, well, shrimp & grits.

Even this Yankee knows that it's good for what ail's you, late winter blues included. So let's see what your basic recipe is, and then you can show us what you do to kick things up a notch. So to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may seem horribly like missing the point, but is there any acceptable, perhaps even common substitute for grits?

I'm having no luck finding them, here... none at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cook my stone ground grits with half milk and half water. At the end, I finish with a small splash of cream and adjust seasoning.

For the shrimp, I start a pan of several slices of bacon cut into cm squares. Once the fat begins to render, I add onions and red bell pepper and then after they are soft I add garlic. I toss in shrimp and tomatoes and saute. When the shrimp are almost ready, a slight bit of flour, brown for 30 seconds and then add stock I made from shrimp shells. Finish with scallions and fresh thyme.

I also occasionally make Hastings recipe from Hot & Hot. It's fantastic. This is a recipe that he put in Coastal Living that is very close to the one in the cookbook.

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000000451836


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may seem horribly like missing the point, but is there any acceptable, perhaps even common substitute for grits?

I'm having no luck finding them, here... none at all.

There really is no substitute. Coarse ground cornmeal is sometimes the right grind but sometimes not. It's kind of a crap shoot if you are somewhere that you can't find cornmeal produced as grits.

That said, the link below is to a mill in the town where I grew up that produces fantastic grits (I prefer white) as well as excellent fresh ground flour. These are the only grits I ever buy. They ship to all of North America.

http://www.oakviewfarms.com/Default.aspx


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My grits come from Anson Mills, Columbia, SC. So does Thomas Keller's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BadRabbit: no cheese?

Sometimes yes sometimes no. I find when I finish with cream I get all the richness and smooth (and creamy) texture one usually accomplishes with cheese. When I have Marscapone, I'll add a small knob of it and a little parmesan at the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you find any type of coarsely ground corn?

Not that I've seen; this is a smallish town, and I'm trying to think whether there's any speciality shop I've missed; I don't think so. So, I'm going to be making shrimp and quinoa.


Edited by Mjx (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anson Mills has a website. Don't remember the cost, but they come in little paper bags in plastic bags in a box. It seems like a small scale operation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm partial to the white stone ground grits from Hoppin' Johns, which are easily ordered on line. I've never tried Anson Mills, bu maybe I will. I start my grits in water, but add whole milk at two different junctures. No idea where that recipe came from. Sometimes I add cheese to finish, sometimes not. Depending on what's in the fridge, or my mood, I might add sharp cheddar, or creme fraiche, or even a mild goat cheese. Actually I prefer my shrimp 'n' grits without extra cheese.

Grits topped with some kind of salsa are yummy, especially a spicy fresh tomato salsa, so that's an essential for me, with or without cheese, with or without shrimp. And then the shrimp. I've done the shrimp numerous ways: a quick pan-fry or something I clipped from I don't know where called Southern Barbecue Shrimp. You preheat the broiler and cover a sheet pan with foil. Then mix melted butter, worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon or so of golden sugar, fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of Old Bay or other seafood seasoning and toss the shrimp to coat. Arrange them on the sheet and broil, turning them over at half-time; only takes a couple of minutes per side. Using Old Bay and worcestershire doesn't seem very southern, but so it goes.

So, I plate the grits, top with salsa and then top that with shrimp. I drizzle on any extra shrimp sauce from the bowl or the foil and that's my shrimp 'n' grits.

As for a substitute for grits, well, couldn't you use a coarse-ground polenta? Actually I've stopped using polenta altogether, and if I'm cooking Italian I just make grits instead and tell everyone it's polenta.

Edited to add some prices: I just looked at the three on-line sources mentioned. Anson Mills sells 12 oz. of grits for $5.95. Hoppin Johns sells 2 lbs grits for $7.50. Oakview Farms seems to have a great deal: 2 lbs for $5.25. I didn't price shipping.


Edited by Katie Meadow (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally used Anson Mills: I like the yellow quick grits and the pencil grits have a corn-nutty taste that my wife likes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jack Fry's restaurant on Bardstown Road in Louisville features Shrimp and Grits in a Red Eye gravy. Theirs also includes tomatoes, country ham and shitake mushrooms. According to one source, they use both milk and whipping cream (4 cups to one) in the grits preparation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My standard shrimp & grits methodology is almost identical to BadRabbit's and seems to be one of the more common preparations here in Georgia. The red pepper and tomatoes provide a nice balance of sweetness and acidity.

For the grits I like to simmer equal parts whole milk and chicken stock with some garlic and fresh thyme and then use this liquid to cook the grits. I generally finish the grits with some butter or cream and maybe some freshly grated parm. I'm not sure what others do, but I typically season grits at the end of cooking -- when I season at the beginning they tend to get too salty at the end.

Last, the use of stone ground grits (as opposed to quick/instant grits) can't be overemphasized. As a transplanted midwesterner, I used to hate grits until I was exposed to real stone ground grits when I moved south about 16 years ago. As others have noted, Anson Mills produce great stone ground grits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My shrimp&grits mentor was Bill Neal of Crooks Corner fame (Chapel Hill, NC) back in the 80s. For him it was a breakfast dish fancied up for dinner.

Grits were either Quaker or Martha White----nothing fancy there. They were cooked with water then seasoned with sharp Vermont cheddar, parmigiano, butter, cayenne, and salt and pepper.

The mis en place for the saute included rendered bacon bits, sliced mushrooms, peeled shrimp, chopped garlic, sliced scallions, tabasco, and lemon juice. It was a quick relatively dry cook in half bacon fat half canola with things going into the pan in the above order. Cheese grits on the plate then the shrimp scattered right on top.

This is one of the simplest and most called for dishes I know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention hot sauce or crushed red pepper. I always add one or the other. I like to use a relatively hot sauce because Tabasco and other milder sauces add too much vinegar to a dish that already has enough acid. I mostly use the red El Yucateco habanero sauce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you find any type of coarsely ground corn?

Not that I've seen; this is a smallish town, and I'm trying to think whether there's any speciality shop I've missed; I don't think so. So, I'm going to be making shrimp and quinoa.

Shrimp and Quinoa?????? what sacrilege! Perhaps you will discover some new fantastic dish, but I just imagine the nutty taste of quinoa clashing with the shrimp. Grits are bland and generic that's why they are so great as a base especially for butter, salt and cheese. Quinoa has a definite flavor profile. I just don't think you are going to get the same results by using quinoa. but by all means please try it and report back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you find any type of coarsely ground corn?

Not that I've seen; this is a smallish town, and I'm trying to think whether there's any speciality shop I've missed; I don't think so. So, I'm going to be making shrimp and quinoa.

Shrimp and Quinoa?????? what sacrilege! Perhaps you will discover some new fantastic dish, but I just imagine the nutty taste of quinoa clashing with the shrimp. Grits are bland and generic that's why they are so great as a base especially for butter, salt and cheese. Quinoa has a definite flavor profile. I just don't think you are going to get the same results by using quinoa. but by all means please try it and report back.

Agree. I believe I'd try something like pulsing hominy to close to the right consistency before I jumped all the way over to quinoa.

Edit: Changed suggestion to hominy.


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, what's the difference between grits & polenta?

They are generally made from different strains of corn and polenta is generally a little finer grind (though still relatively coarse). Some grits are also made from hominy while I don't think you ever see polenta made from lye soaked kernels.

Though yellow grits are widely available now, they are not the norm while most (all?) polenta is yellow.


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can I use polenta meal instead of grits or will it be essentially wrong?

I'm not a very good rule follower. Yesterday morning I made Kongee with steel cut oats (I liked it, anyway.)


Edited by Marya D. (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By David Ross
      Welcome back to our popular eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Hash, took us into a heated discussion of the meat of the matter--should it be chopped, hashed, sliced, diced, or chunked.
      Click here, for our Hash discussion, and the answers to all of your questions about this beloved diner staple. The complete eG Cook-Off Index can be found here. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 59: Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish.
      Drying fish is a method of preservation that dates back to Ancient times, but more recently, (let’s say a mere 500 years ago or so), salt mining became a major industry in Europe and salt was a fast and economical way of preserving fish. Curing agents like nitrates were introduced in the 19th century, furthering the safety and taste of preserved fish.
      Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans have been preserving fish and seafood for millennia. While we are best known for our ruby-red, oily-rich, smoked salmon, other species of fish found in the Pacific and in our streams are delicious when cured and smoked including Halibut, Sablefish and Idaho Rainbow Trout. And don’t think that you can’t smoke shellfish, alder-smoked Dungeness Crab is a wondrous Pacific Northwest delicacy that evokes memories of crab roasting over a driftwood fire on the beach.
      Another method of preserving fish is to bath the beauties in a brine—a combination of water, sugar, salt and spices that adds flavor and moisture to fish before it is dried or smoked. And speaking of smoked fish, you can do it in a small pan on top of the stove, in a cast iron drum, a barbecue pit, an old woodshed or a fancy digital smoker. The methods and flavors produced by smoking fish are endless.
      Old-fashioned ways of preserving fish, (while adequate at the time), aren't always the best method today. Today's technology provides us with the tools to create cured fish that is moist, succulent, tender and with a hint of smoke. The Modernist movement has certainly played a role in bringing this age-old craft into the 21st century, so for the avant-garde in the crowd, show us your creative wizardry for preserving fish the "modern" way.
      Cured, Brined, Smoked or Salted, the art of preserving fish opens us up to limitless possibilities that transcend the boundaries of cuisine and culture. So let’s sew-up the holes in our fishnets, scrub the barnacles off the rowboat and set out to sea in search of some delectable fish to cure, brine, smoke and salt.
    • By David Ross
      Welcome back to a time-honored, cherished eG tradition, the eG Cook-Off Series. Today were venturing into a new world for Cook-Off's. Member Kerry Beal came forward with a Cook-Off idea we just couldn't pass up--Pork Belly--and inspired a new idea for future Cook-Off's. Knowing we're a community of great culinary minds, we'll be inviting the Members to send us ideas for potential future Cook-Off's, (more information to come later). Take it away Kerry and let's raid the larder and start cookin.
    • By David Ross
      Fall is but a whisper of the recent past--at least it is where I live in the upper reaches of Eastern, Washington. We had our first fluff of snow a week ago and a reasonable November storm is predicted for this weekend with temperatures holding at a chilly 18 degrees at night.
      Along with the rumblings of cold winter weather and Holiday feasts, we turn our culinary musings to time-treasured, comfortable dishes. And so I invite you to join me in another kitchen adventure--the inimitable eG Cook-Off Series. In 2013, we've tackled the tricky cooking of Squid, Calamari and Octopus and we made delicious dishes out of the humble Summer Squash.
      (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index).
      But today we're shunning all manner of counting calories, salt or fat content--for what is rich in flavor is good for the soul my dear friends. Please join me in crafting, nuturing and savoring a dish of Confit.
    • By David Ross
      Hello friends and welcome back to a time-honored tradition--the popular eG Cook-Off Series. We're in the heat of summer right now and our gardens are literally blooming with all manner of peak of the season ripe fruits and succulent vegetables. And there's no better time of year to honor a vegetable that is often maligned as not being as colorful or trendy as the chi-chi breakfast radish or the multi-hued rainbow chard.

      In addition to not always being recognized for it's looks, every August and September it becomes the butt of jokes at State Fair competitions across the country. If you can get past the embarassment of seeing the poor devils dressed up and carved into silly, cartoon-like farm figures or pumped-up with organic steroids, you'll find a delicious, low-calorie vegetable packed with potassium and vitamin A. Yes friends, your dreams have come true for today we kick-off eG Cook-Off #62, "Summer Squash."
      (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index).

      According to the University of Illinois Extension Office, summer squash, (also known in some circles as Italian marrow), are tender, warm-season vegetables that can be grown anytime during the warm, frost-free season. Summer squash differs from fall and winter squash, (like pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash), because it is harvested before the outer rind hardens. Some of the most popular summer squash are the Green and Yellow Zucchini, Scallop, Patty Pan, Globe, Butter Blossom and Yellow Crookneck.

      My personal favorite summer squash is the versatile zucchini. Slow-cooked with sliced onion and ham hock, zucchini is perfectly comfortable nestled on a plate next to juicy, fried pork chops and creamy macaroni and cheese. But the chi-chi haute crowd isn't forgotten when it comes to zucchini, or, as the sniffy French call it, the "courgette." Tiny, spring courgette blossoms stuffed with herbs and ricotta cheese then dipped in tempura batter and gently fried are a delicacy found on Michelin-Star menus across the globe.

      Won't you please join me in crafting some delicious masterpieces that showcase the culinary possibilities of delicious summer squash.
    • By David Ross
      Welcome back to our reknowned eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Bolognese Sauce, led to a spirited discussion over the intricacies of the beloved Italian meat sauce. Click here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 58: Hash, the classic American diner dish.
      Yet what appears as a humble, one-name dish is anything but ordinary. The difficulty in defining “Hash” is exactly why we’ve chosen it for a Cook-Off—simple definitions don’t apply when one considers that Hash is a dish that transcends regional and international boundaries. The ingredients one chooses to put into their version of Hash are limitless--we aren’t just talking cold meat and leftover potatoes folks.
      I for one, always thought Hash came out of a can from our friends at Hormel Foods, (as in "Mary Kitchen" Corned Beef Hash). It looks like Alpo when you scoop it out of the can, but it sure fries up nice and crispy. After a few weeks of research in the kitchen, I’ve experienced a new appreciation for Hash.
      So start putting together the fixins for your Hash and let’s start cooking. Hash, it’s what’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×