Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shrimp and Grits: An Experiment

Band camp is over, so I decided to celebrate by trying out a new recipe. I'm not usually big on grits, but I figure every southern girl needs to at least try them. I love shrimp, so I knew it wouldn't be a total disaster. And bonus, I couldn't cook until I cleaned up my kitchen, so I killed two birds with one stone. Now I just have to work on the rest of the apartment. :) (I love the sound of rain on the roof, it's really pouring outside.)

I got out my brand new cookbook, America's Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two. My whole thought process behind the cooking for two thing is that most recipes make enough for a family, and I'm cooking for just me. So one meal for me, and one in the fridge for later makes much more sense. I'm a huge fan of it so far, all of the recipes seem really well thought out, and it's stuff that a picky eater like me will actually eat. The ingredient list was pretty easy, I was able to buzz through Winn-Dixie and find everything I needed, including some nice shrimp. I came home, prepped for a few minutes, and had the meal done in about 30 minutes. It was pretty simple and fast. I'm happy with how the grits turned out, but my onion and garlic mincing skills could definitely use some work. I didn't bother with the scallion as a garnish. A tip: if you're like me, take it easy on the onion in this dish, it was a little too much. I can't wait to try some variations of the dish that were suggested in the cookbook.


8 oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 T olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

1 T unsalted butter

1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 a cup)

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1/2 cup quick grits (not instant or old-fashioned)

4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

1 scallion, sliced thin


1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the shrimp with the oil, garlic, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the grits.

2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Sitr in the water, cream, hot sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring often, until the grits are thick and creamy, 5-7 minutes.

3. Off the heat, whisk in the cheddar until combined. Lay the shrimp on their sides in a pinwheel formation over the grits, then press on them lightly to submerge about halfway. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the shrimp are cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with the scallion before serving.