How does a Quebecer end up with a typical southern dish like Shrimp and grits on her diner rotation? Now days there are probably many ways with all the travelling and media available. In my case, it was while travelling to Honey’s home state of South Carolina that I was introduced to Shrimp and Grits.
His brother made us some for breakfast and I loved it so much I just had to try to make it when I got back home. I looked through a lot of recipes and ended up coming up with my version of this Southern specialty. How close or far is it from the real deal I really can’t say except that all the versions I tried in SC were different…
Here is how my version is made, as usual with my own recipes for savory food there are proportions I follow but no fixed quantities. Still most people need measurements so I made and effort for you.
Shrimp and grits
36 uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
1 cup onion diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
6 slices bacon
2 cups fresh-cut tomatoes (in the winter use a small can of diced tomatoes)
chili powder to taste
green onions for garnish
Heat pan, add bacon and cook until just before crunchy. Drain excess fat and add onions to the pan and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute, then add tomatoes. Cook stirring until the tomatoes are soft. If the sauce is dry add some chicken broth to taste. We don’t like dry sauces so I tend to always add 1/2 to 3/4 cups. Add chile powder (or tabasco or other to taste), salt and pepper and simmer. Add a few tablespoons of cream if desired.
The traditional side for this dish is grits, basically, and I hope I’m not committing a sin by saying this, grits is like a coarse polenta flavored with cheese, butter, salt and pepper. You can actually buy them in the organic food section of your grocery store, though here we can only find the yellow one not the white that is more common in the southern states. If polenta is not your thing, you could also have rice with the shrimps or any other grain you like.
The important part is to add your shrimps to the hot sauce only when the table is set and the side dish is ready. Stir and cook only just until the shrimp are opaque, 3 or 4 minutes, add chopped green onions and serve. This is how you’ll make sure your shrimp are as tender as can be.
We usually have some more butter and grated cheese on the table to garnish.