The other night I was totally craving shrimp and grits. This summertime Southern staple has been on my mind ever since the weather started getting warmer. Bowls of creamy cheesy grits with fresh plump shrimp topped with sautéed mushrooms and bacon—Yes, please.
I really love the shrimp and grits at Red Pony in Franklin. The dish has been on their menu for years and years so when I decided to try my hand at it, I wanted to use the same flavors they do by including mushrooms and bacon.
The salty bacon set against the creamy grits and savory mushrooms highlight the shrimp perfectly. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some chopped green onions complete the dish.
Add a skillet of cornbread and you’ve got a summer supper that’s easy enough for a weeknight and fancy enough for company.
Shrimp and Grits
1 cup yellow stone-ground grits
¾ cup grated cheddar
¼ cup parmesan
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. canola oil
5 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb. medium shrimp (about 30), peeled
Freshly ground black pepper
12 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges
2 tsp. hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
4 scallions, thinly sliced
In a saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, 30–40 minutes. (Whisk in more water for thinner grits.) Whisk in cheddar, parmesan, and 1 tbsp. butter and season with salt; cover and set aside.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet.
Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp to skillet and cook, turning once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium; add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute. Raise heat to high, add chicken broth, and scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. Cook until broth reduces by half, 3 minutes. Return shrimp to skillet along with the lemon juice, remaining butter, and hot sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and its sauce. Garnish each bowl with bacon, scallions, and lemon wedges.
Recipe adapted from Saveur.
I use this Skillet Cornbread recipe all the time. It’s one that I adapted from The Loveless Cafe for Thanksgiving stuffing. It’s a staple that goes with everything—BBQ, chicken noodle soup, and especially shrimp and grits.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart buttermilk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Add flour, cornmeal, sugar, buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined. Pour oil in cast iron skillet and place in preheated oven until hot and bubbly. Take hot skillet out of oven and carefully pour in batter. Return skillet to oven and allow to bake for about 35 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown and set.