Yesterday was my birthday and what better way to celebrate than with some southern shrimp and grits. I had an early birthday celebration over the weekend and it was great! We got to celebrate over yellow cake topped with chocolate frosting. I received a lot of new props for my food photography which I cannot wait to use.
I also got to enjoy these shrimp and grits. This recipe is alot easier than it looks and is actually very simple. The lemon, white wine, and chives keep the dish fresh and light. Shrimp and grits can sometimes be too heavy and saturated with butter. Using herbs and citrus gives the dish flavor without packing on the calories.
From my research I found it really just depends on who you ask. Southerners refer to it as grits whereas the Italian version is known as polenta. Both are made from stone-ground cornmeal, which is corn that is dried and then ground into a small grain. Grits are typically made from hominy, whereas polenta is made from a corn called flint. Sound confusing? It’s not. If your wandering around the grocery store aisle here is what to look for. If you can’t find something labeled grits or polenta grab the stone ground cornmeal. The differences between grits and polenta are pretty slim. I would suggest giving them both a try to see which you prefer.
Creamy Shrimp & Grits
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup quick cooking grits
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 + ½ tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup 1% milk
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 20 medium shrimp left whole
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ tbsp white cooking wine
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh chives diced
To begin, in a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Slowly add in grits while whisking continuously. Over medium heat, cook grits for about 4 to 5 minutes until they thicken up. Add in salt and pepper, 1 tbsp butter, parmesan cheese, and milk. Turn the heat to low until you are ready to serve. (Note: grits will thicken up the longer they cook. If you have them on low heat for a while you may need to add additional butter or water to thin out the grits).
Meanwhile add olive oil to a medium skillet. Over medium heat add in shrimp and cook until translucent and tender about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, wine and cayenne to the shrimp and cook for an additional minute. Take off the heat and stir in lemon juice, and ½ tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve place grits in individual bowls and top with shrimp mixture. You can always serve family style too in a large platter. Drizzle each bowl/or platter with the extra sauce. Garnish with chives.
Chef note: You can always substitute regular wine for cooking wine. I would suggest using a medium dry wine like a pinot grigio.