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shar999

Shrimp and Grits

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 Little cooler last night so Shrimp and Grits last night.201B751F-049B-4E90-BCCD-B7C6F2F2F020.thumb.jpeg.4ea4542af3e1720fdd8f653a07db23a5.jpeg

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The absolute best shrimp and grits I ever ate in the world are at Mr. B's Bistro on Royal in NOLA. The recipe is here

 

At the restaurant, they call the sauce "red-eye gravy." It is NOT red-eye gravy. It is, however, wonderful.

 

I have been known to serve it with ratatouille for a dinner party.

 

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4 hours ago, kayb said:

The absolute best shrimp and grits I ever ate in the world are at Mr. B's Bistro on Royal in NOLA. The recipe is here

 

At the restaurant, they call the sauce "red-eye gravy." It is NOT red-eye gravy. It is, however, wonderful.

 

I have been known to serve it with ratatouille for a dinner party.

 

That looks wonderful, Kay!!  

 

The best that I've ever made are James Briscione's Sherry Shrimp and Grits.

 

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Love me some shrimp and grits.   Looks  excellent

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I made shrimp and grits tonight for dinner, using the recipe @kayb linked to.  I did not wrap the shrimp in the bacon, since it is the first time I have made this, I wasn't sure of my timing so I cooked the bacon separately.  I don't really know if the grits were grits, i went to 4 different places looking for Bob's Red Mill grits but couldn't find any.  I had to settle for something called cornmeal which I cooked in the Instant Pot.  We really liked this so thank you @kayb for the recipe.  We will make this again.

 

@Kim Shook  I have also saved the recipe you linked to as I would like to try it as well.   I managed also to find decent shrimp.  They were an Argentinian Red, and did not have that sort of ammonia smell a lot of frozen shrimp have.  They were very clean smelling and tasted fresh.  Fresh ones in these parts are as scarce as hen's teeth, and when they are available run around $30 a pound.  

20180713_195752.jpg

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Glad you enjoyed, @ElsieD

 

The only difference in cornmeal and grits is the size of the grind. Like cornmeal, grits come in white and yellow. There are also hominy grits. Which you  get tends to be a function of where you  are. 

 

Should you become a true grits aficionado, I'll pick up a bag at the grocery and ship 'em to you.

 

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@ElsieD - that looks delicious!  Also - if you find polenta, you will get a texture closer to grits.  Might be easier to find where you are.

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18 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

@ElsieD - that looks delicious!  Also - if you find polenta, you will get a texture closer to grits.  Might be easier to find where you are.

 

I haven't found myself south of the Mason Dixon line in decades* but in southern restaurants for breakfast I was most fond of grits.  Quite exotic.  Coarse yellow cornmeal, biscuits, ham, gravy, more gravy...

 

But when you say "polenta" I reach for the finest, whitest cornmeal.

 

 

*except in New Jersey (look at a map).

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I haven't found myself south of the Mason Dixon line in decades* but in southern restaurants for breakfast I was most fond of grits.  Quite exotic.  Coarse yellow cornmeal, biscuits, ham, gravy, more gravy...

 

But when you say "polenta" I reach for the finest, whitest cornmeal.

 

 

*except in New Jersey (look at a map).

 

 

Mason Dixon line does not extend into NJ. Its basically the PA/MD/DE/WVa  border. We are a mile or two on the right side of it. Amazingly, things are really are a little different on the other side.

 


Edited by gfweb (log)

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@kayb  I looks like the closest I can come to buying grits is the Bob's Red Mill grits for polenta.  I couldn't find it yesterday but I have a few more spots to check which I will do today.  Even Amazon.ca doesn't carry anything simply labeled gifts unless it is the instant type.  Can you tell me if Bob's brand is what a Southerner would use to make grits?

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13 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I haven't found myself south of the Mason Dixon line in decades* but in southern restaurants for breakfast I was most fond of grits.  Quite exotic.  Coarse yellow cornmeal, biscuits, ham, gravy, more gravy...

 

But when you say "polenta" I reach for the finest, whitest cornmeal.

 

 

*except in New Jersey (look at a map).

 

Oh.  The polenta that I buy is fairly coarse.  I've never thought to use fine cornmeal for it.  I need to try that - I have a feeling that polenta made with fine meal would be much less likely to pop at me when I fry it up as cakes.  Thanks!

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14 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

Mason Dixon line does not extend into NJ. Its basically the PA/MD/DE/WVa  border. We are a mile or two on the right side of it. Amazingly, things are really are a little different on the other side.

 

 

 

Yes, however NJ still extends south of the Mason Dixon line, almost as far south as Washington DC.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

Even Amazon.ca doesn't carry anything simply labeled gifts unless it is the instant type.


Sure they do! The local store carries them but sometimes they run out and it takes a while before they get them in again so I keep this in my saved items on amazon.ca and just order a couple bags if I need them. They carry the yellow as well, but I always order the white.


Edited by Tri2Cook (log)
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4 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

Oh.  The polenta that I buy is fairly coarse.  I've never thought to use fine cornmeal for it.  I need to try that - I have a feeling that polenta made with fine meal would be much less likely to pop at me when I fry it up as cakes.  Thanks!

As it was explained to me by an Italian friend, coarse yellow polenta is eaten in the southern parts of Italy, while in the north they favor white corn and a finer grind. He was from the north (Udine, to be precise) and the way he said "finer," with a distinct sniff and tilt of the head, conveyed clearly that in his view the southern variety was not fit for civilized people. :P

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2 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


Sure they do! The local store carries them but sometimes they run out and it takes a while before they get them in again so I keep this in my saved items on amazon.ca and just order a couple bags if I need them. They carry the yellow as well, but I always order the white.

 

 

I don't know what I was looking at, but that wasn't it.  Thanks for pointing it out to me.  This is what I bought today.  It should keep me going for a while.

20180714_162803.jpg

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I have the same blue cornmeal in my freezer. It's taking forever to use up, because the inconsistent grind (which apparently is a characteristic of the stone-ground) makes me crazy. I usually sift it into fine and coarse, the fine to bake with and the coarse to cook for polenta.

 

If I use it un-sifted for polenta, it gets stodgy and sticky before the coarse-ground is fully cooked (basically, it takes away that grace period you normally get before the corn starts to stick and scorch). Baked un-sifted, it yields a cornmeal with irritatingly coarse crunchy bits in it that make the finished cornbread tooth-grittingly unpleasant to eat. Pretty, though.

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@chromedome  Interesting.  Maybe a blue cornmeal expert will chime in.

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I'm not an expert on blue corn meal, but I can tell you that the yellow stone ground cornmeal I've bought for years does not suffer from uneven grinding and it cooks up just fine in cornbread or pone. It's Old Time brand from Wilson-Rogers Mills, Ellicott City, MD.

 

The most common grits I encounter are the white ones that are course ground. I've never seen yellow grits in a restaurant and every one of them serves grits at breakfast around here. The grocery stores all offer white Quaker grits in instant or quick varieties. There may be more on offer, but I always grab the quick ones, making sure I don't pick up instant by mistake.

 

That's a shame about your blue corn meal @chromedome. It sure would make an unusual and pretty cornbread, but if the texture is like sand ... You came up with a clever way to be able to use it anyway, though.

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3 hours ago, chromedome said:

I have the same blue cornmeal in my freezer. It's taking forever to use up, because the inconsistent grind (which apparently is a characteristic of the stone-ground) makes me crazy. I usually sift it into fine and coarse, the fine to bake with and the coarse to cook for polenta.

 

If I use it un-sifted for polenta, it gets stodgy and sticky before the coarse-ground is fully cooked (basically, it takes away that grace period you normally get before the corn starts to stick and scorch). Baked un-sifted, it yields a cornmeal with irritatingly coarse crunchy bits in it that make the finished cornbread tooth-grittingly unpleasant to eat. Pretty, though.

 

I wonder if, after sifting, you take the coarse pieces and buzz them in a food processor if that would help?

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30 minutes ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

I'm not an expert on blue corn meal, but I can tell you that the yellow stone ground cornmeal I've bought for years does not suffer from uneven grinding and it cooks up just fine in cornbread or pone. It's Old Time brand from Wilson-Rogers Mills, Ellicott City, MD.

 

The most common grits I encounter are the white ones that are course ground. I've never seen yellow grits in a restaurant and every one of them serves grits at breakfast around here. The grocery stores all offer white Quaker grits in instant or quick varieties. There may be more on offer, but I always grab the quick ones, making sure I don't pick up instant by mistake.

 

That's a shame about your blue corn meal @chromedome. It sure would make an unusual and pretty cornbread, but if the texture is like sand ... You came up with a clever way to be able to use it anyway, though.

 

My memories from the '70's may have faded.  I could be recalling white grits instead of yellow.  Pretty sure about the gravy though.

 

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Posted (edited)

Ouch. There's so much conflicting information from what you might think are reputable sources on the differences between grits and polenta. Without claiming any expertise, here's what I know after some frustrating research some years ago:

 

Once those clever people in Mexico figured out how to nixtamalize corn, it caught on in the south, and grits were typically made from what is called "dent" or nixtamalized corn. It can be white or yellow corn or even other colors. Polenta, which was an Italian form of cornmeal mush, was made from "field corn" and not nixtamalized. The grind, whether coarse, medium, fine or extra fine may be a matter or preference, as noted above, in northern and southern Italy, There is certainly some variety in the grind of southern grits. Maybe different stones grind differently. Maybe once upon a time you could take your corn to the mill and ask for it to be ground however you wanted. To overgeneralize, I get the sense that the polenta preferred by Italians in America is often a finer grind than southern grits. I like my grits toward the coarser end of the spectrum, which usually means that ithey need almost an hour to cook properly.

 

I like white grits a little more and my husband prefers yellow, so I buy both and we switch off. Variety is good! I do think they taste a little different, but then lots of factors are in play there, some cultural and some psychological as with any subtle judgements. Personally I get the sense that there is a snootiness factor about white corn, which may have originated from any number of truths or half-truths. Maybe white corn was more expensive and more temperamental to grow, and therefore gained value.. Maybe it was just more white.  Maybe it tastes a little more delicate or "refined." I'm not really sure, and I happily eat both. Jump in, anyone with an opinion about this.

 

I've bought grits from a variety of mail order sources. Mostly they say nothing about what kind of corn they use or whether it has been nixtamalized, so I don't assume anything, but I simply go for whatever seems to be the freshest and best quality and tastes great. I do think the flavor and texture of stone ground grits from a reputable mill has a more dynamic taste that the Italian imported polenta that you get in a box. Much as I love many of Bob's products, their labelling can be very confusing. Their Corn Grits look yellow, so why don't they label them Yellow Corn Grits to distinguish them clearly from their White Corn Grits? And are there grits that are not made from corn? Get it together, Bob. I like Bob's cornmeal though, for making corn bread as it is kind of a medium grind and kind of toothy.

 

Geechie Boy Mill, where I order my grits, is now selling blue grits. I haven't tried it.


Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
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4 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

My memories from the '70's may have faded.  I could be recalling white grits instead of yellow.  Pretty sure about the gravy though.

 

 

Jo,

 

You could have eaten yellow grits down here somewhere. I was just speaking about my limited experiences in my current area, and I can also say that the folks at whose homes I ate grits in Northwestern Louisiana and just over the AR border at my aunt's place, also ate white grits. But I tend not to eat at fancy, expensive restaurants, and can't even remember eating out at all in Louisiana. Different areas of the South have different food traditions, though. For instance, Eastern and Western North Carolina styles of BBQ. Raleigh/Cary is kind of in the middle of the state, but tends to lean mostly toward Eastern BBQ. For the love of all that is holy, do not bring up religion, politics or BBQ style at a civilized dinner party down here! xD

 

@Katie Meadow,

 

I'm glad you said something about hominy grits. I mentioned them somewhere before, and another member (can't remember which one) said there was no such thing. Well the staple of the common folks I know of, who are not foodies who mail order extra special grits, is the Quaker brand I already mentioned. I have never seen any that were not labeled "hominy" grits. They don't taste like masa harina, but they do taste a lot like canned hominy. As far as I can tell, this is what the restaurants serve too. All restaurants serve this dish because it's cheap and lots of people order them, so good for food costs.

 

With Quaker quick grits, you have to ignore the package directions to make them smooth and creamy, the way I like them. Quaker says 1 c grits to 3 c water, but I add an extra cup. They say they are ready in 5 minutes. Well sure, if you like your grits gritty. I had an epiphany moment at Pam's Farmhouse Restaurant in Raleigh one morning when I ordered their grits because the home fries I had ordered twice before came soggy and not browned. (Don't get me wrong, the home fries are the only thing I don't like from there. They make sublime biscuits that are better then mine any day.)

 

Because restaurants make up a big batch of grits and hold them for service on low heat, they get a chance to become really creamy. So I knew I had to cook mine at home longer than the package directions. I figured out that I had to add more water to do this later, in practice, and started adding the extra cup from the start. Grits hold fine on low heat, and if they start to get too thick, just stir in more water, another reason restaurants like them. Another tip I picked up here from a member is to stir your grits into cold water instead of boiling water if you have a batch that is giving you problems with lumps. Again, this goes against package directions. Sheesh! I can understand people's negative reactions to grits when they try to make them according to the leading brand's directions.

 

And @Kim Shook, have you ever seen anything else that splatters oil so fiercely as next day fried leftover grits!? I didn't own a splatter screen till the day I got popped in the face just under my eye. Now I'm the proud owner of an all stainless steel one, pretty much for this one job. You still have to move fast though and hold the screen between your body and the pan while turning the damned, but delicious, things over. They still manage to get me on the wrists often. Love fried grits, though.

 

Shrimp and grits started out as a humble breakfast dish in the Low Country on the NC and SC coasts, where shrimp was a cheap protein and grits are always cheap. There's as many recipes as cooks, but I am sure that the people who originated it with not much more than the ingredients in the name are astounded at the complex recipes restaurants have come up with today as it has become trendy. I'm astounded at how much many of them get away with charging for it.

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12 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

I wonder if, after sifting, you take the coarse pieces and buzz them in a food processor if that would help?

I've tried that. It turned out my Cuise was too big for the quantities I was working with (it'd be different if I was doing a whole bag at a time, but that's more sifting than I want to deal with) so I used my little spice grinder (aka twirling-blade cheap-ass coffee grinder). That worked well, but only for a tablespoon or two at a time. So...I wound up just using the coarse and fine separately. Not an issue, really, just a bit of a PITA.

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Yep, there's nothing that spatters more than frying up a slab of leftover grits. I've taken to simply using a stainless cover, just cracked open a hair. Also taking the skillet off the heat when you flip helps a little, but I agree that being quick about is an asset. But that's my favorite breakfast, fried up very crisp and served with an extra bit of finishing salt and a puddle of Crystal Louisiana hot sauce. Never gets old. 

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33 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

Yep, there's nothing that spatters more than frying up a slab of leftover grits. I've taken to simply using a stainless cover, just cracked open a hair. Also taking the skillet off the heat when you flip helps a little, but I agree that being quick about is an asset. But that's my favorite breakfast, fried up very crisp and served with an extra bit of finishing salt and a puddle of Crystal Louisiana hot sauce. Never gets old. 

 

I'm really new to grits but I'm thinking fried grit cakes with a fried egg on top would be nice.

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