Shrimp & grits
There are a few things that, if seen on a menu, I will always order: brussels sprouts, mac n cheese, polenta, and shrimp & grits. I went through a severe shrimp & grits phase this summer while living in Manhattan. My favorite? I fell in love with The Redhead‘s version in the East Village.
I’ve made shrimp & grits twice now–two different versions from the same recipe based on what I had on hand (proof that this is a flexible and delicious recipe).
My modifications the first time:
- I omitted most of the chicken broth called for and used a little bit of butter and half & half for the quick grits and threw in some fresh corn at the end for a sweet crunch (it was the end of summer).
- Red wine instead of white (its what I had lying around)
- A can of fire roasted tomatoes for extra smoky flavor
- Italian sausage & pancetta in place of the proscuitto
- Doubled the garlic (I almost always do this)
- Didn’t use any of the herbs called for–would have been pretty but I rarely buy herbs because they are expensive and always die too quickly in the fridge. I would love an herb box…or my mom’s herb garden (without the maintenance required).
It was delicious the first time but I knew I could make it just as tasty without all of the fat called for in the grits. The second time around:
The second time around, I halved the recipe:
- For the grits (which Joel is now in charge of when we make this together), he used all chicken broth and no butter or cream. Towards the end of cooking, he added some shredded pepper jack. You can definitely use whatever cheese you have lying around…parmesan or gorgonzola would be good too. (BTW, what’s the difference between gorgonzola and blue cheese?)
- I used half fresh shrimp (butterflied and cleaned but shell on) from Dirk’s and half peeled/cooked/frozen shrimp from Trader Joe’s. In the future, I would take off the shell before cooking because its a bit of a pain to eat otherwise.
- Instead of prosciutto, I used 4 strips of chopped bacon
- Added sliced baby bella mushrooms in with the shallots & garlic
- Used sake instead of white wine (could probably use champagne, too…and then you get to drink the rest!)
- While I only made a half recipe, I used the full 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
- Doubled the garlic, of course, and omitted the herbs
I would always recommend using some fresh corn in the grits when you can. Since its the middle of winter here, we had to skip that. Served with steamed green beans on the side and a glass of crisp sake. Future renditions will feature andouille sausage in place of proscuitto, different cheeses in the grits, and fresh tomatoes. Oh yes, and its never complete without a dash of some of your favorite hot sauce (I am now a Frank’s Red Hot convert). What else would you suggest?