This ain’t my grandmother’s grits!

And the reason I know this, is because my grams didn’t make grits. There is a ground corn casserole she made with coconut  milk and okra, but this ain’t that. First time I had grits was about 10 years ago at Frank’s Grill here in Houston. I enjoyed them with lots of butter, pepper and salt and ate them with bits of an over medium egg. I saw recipes suggesting the addition of cheese and garlic, and that’s how I’m making these.

Mind you, this is about more than just the grits, but the other recipe, the crowning jewel part, is for the shrimp. OH.MY.GAWD! These turned out incredibly good, even if I say so myself. And the combo was just pure silliness. Hubby and I smiled through every bite we took. So here you have it Cheesy Grits and Shrimp!

Cheesy Grits
1/2 cp grits (I used quick, not instant grits)
1+ cp water
1 cp milk
1/2 cp heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
2 tbsp butter
1 cp Comte cheese (or your favorite medium strong cheese)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 cp panko crumbs
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Bring the water, milk, cream and garlic to a soft boil in a medium-sized, heavy bottom pan. Add the salt and whisk in the grits. Keep stirring to make sure the grits don’t get lumpy. They will begin to thicken, and you will have to decide how gritty you’d like your grits. I cooked them for about 15 minutes and added an extra 3/4 cp of water in the process.

Once the texture is to your liking and the grits have thicken enough for you to be able to scrape and pile them to the side, add the butter, cheese, nutmeg and white pepper. Stir it all very well and remove from the heat. Butter the bottom of a square container (I used a rectangular baking sheet) and pour the grits in, to a depth of about 1 inch. Allow it to cool and harden in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Once they have cooled, remove from the fridge and slice the grits with a butter knife. I was able to make about 12 1-inch wide sticks. Pour the panko crumbs onto a sheet of wax paper and dip the grit sticks in it, covering all the exposed sides. I literally pressed the sticks into the panko to make sure the crumbs were stuck to them. Now heat a nonstick frying pan with half of the butter and oil. Drop half of the panko covered sticks into the melted butter and brown on both sides–about 3 minutes or so per side. Remove from the pan and place on your plate, before browning the rest of the grits, wipe the bottom of the pan to remove the crumbs that have been left at the bottom. This ensures you don’t have burnt crumbs on the 2nd batch. Add the butter and oil, and repeat. They are now ready to serve, set aside but keep warm.

For the shrimp I wanted a creamy and spicy sauce, something that would contrast nicely against the creamy, rich grits. I started out with the concept of garlic shrimp, then added harissa and cream to round out the palate.

Harissa Cream Shrimp
1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Herbs d’Provence
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp Harissa
1 cp white wine
1/2 cp heavy cream
Cornstarch if desired

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In the meantime, mince the shallots and garlic and melt the butter in a medium size pan. Add the shallots and garlic to the butter and cook until they begin to soften, then add the harissa. Once you have mixed in the harissa, add the wine and, if you’d like, flame it to burn the excess alcohol.

Now add the shrimp, making sure to coat them well with shallots. Depending on the size of your shrimp, it will take about 5 minutes to cook them. Toss them to ensure they’re cooking evenly, then add the cream and turn off the heat.

Note: I wanted the sauce to be thick, so I did dissolve 1 tsp cornstarch in 2 tbsp cool water and added it to the sauce (I removed the shrimp first to avoid over cooking). Make sure you allow the sauce to come to a boil to give the cornstarch an opportunity to develop.

The beautiful fire turns into this

Finito! Serve the shrimp over the grits. FYI: I made the grits and put them in the fridge, then cooked the shrimp and left them aside, then fried the grits to serve it all.

Enjoy this one!

Cookingly yours, Anamaris

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14 thoughts on “This ain’t my grandmother’s grits!

  1. This is why I always say that cheese makes everything better. 🙂 Delicious-looking recipe; do you think that the shrimp had to be in a creamy sauce themselves? In other words, think that a more simple char-grilled shrimp, mixed with the cheesy grits, would still be good?

    • Frankly, I don’t think it matters how you serve shrimp as long as you do! In this case, I don’t think the creamy sauce is essential, but a sauce of some sort shared by both, the grits and shrimp, would help bring them together. I guess my thought is you may not have a piece of shrimp on every bite, but if there’s a sauce flavored by them, it would be just as good. I originally thought of making them as garlic shrimp.

      And thanks for peeking in my world!

      • I hear you about the complimentary flavors – definitely. And you’re welcome; thanks for creating a great blog! We’re just starting ours out, as a matter of fact, so I hope to learn from the good ones (without stealing, of course)!

  2. Ann bannanni says:

    KILLING ME.. SO HUNGRY NOW.. I love the garlic cheese grits and I should tell yo7u about the special they had at Kroger Garlic cheese.. I was going to make them soon, Barry does not eat grits though.. SO, I have to share with others!!! Pork chop Fat ones with Garlic cheese grits YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

  3. ann eason says:

    You are SO wrong for posting this with those delectable pics.. Now I gotta go to the store and follow your recipe.. unless you are making this for NYday & having me ova :)??

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