Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shrimp & Grits

Ahh, a Southern classic. Of course, Southern food hasn't been known as the healthiest of foods (a deep fat fryer seems to be a must for classic Southern cookin') but with a few healthy changes, it can still taste delicious!  I tried making shrimp and grits tonight, albeit a much healthier version than what's typically served.  It was my first time actually having shrimp and grits, too.  By the time I finally would venture out to try new dishes (it would probably be an understatement to say that I was a rather picky child), I was in Washington DC and couldn't swallow paying $30 for a plate.  And since I doubt we'll be finding soul food any time in California, I decided to make my own! I finally found a suitable recipe - while I can't judge its authenticity, it was still delicious.  The Old Bay and chili powder give the dish a nice kick but the grits balanced it out by being nice and creamy.

However, my grits aren't true, stone ground grits.  It was polenta instead because I already had the ingredients.  They are similar that it was a fine substitute for us!  They were incredibly creamy - I know that I'll want to use this polenta recipe again for other dishes.

Shrimp and Grits
Taken from: Kath Eats
3-4 servings
  • 10 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Approx. 5-6 ounces fresh spinach (you could also sub broccoli raab, collards, etc)
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bell peppers, diced (I used red)
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Approx. 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Polenta recipe below OR 1/4 cup quick cooking polenta (if using quick cooking polenta, stir in 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 tsp. honey at the end)
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
(Start cooking polenta/grits at the same time you begin the shrimp part of the recipe.)
-Dry each shrimp with a paper towel or two to make sure they sear nicely.
-Heat a large saute pan to medium high. Add olive oil to pan and when the oil is heated (if you flick a few drops of water on the pan, the water drops should dance), place shrimp one by one into pan and don’t touch until brown on one side (probably takes about 3 minutes). Flip and sear on other side until crispy. Remove shrimp from pan.
-Add veggies to pan, lightly season with salt and pepper and sautee a few minutes (I actually did this step in a second saute pan and sauteed the veggies while the shrimp was going to cut down on some time.) Stir in Old Bay and chili powder. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water, if you don't have broth) to deglaze plan and steam veggies. Remove veggies from pan when tender.
-Add spinach to pan. Lightly season with salt and pepper and saute a few minutes until wilted. Add a splash of water to steam/deglaze, if needed.
-Add veggies and shrimp to polenta pot and stir together. Pour into bowl and top with shrimp and parmesan.

Homemade Polenta/Grits
Taken from: Everyday Italian cookbook
3-4 side dish servings
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp. honey
-In a heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add salt.
-Reduce heat to low.  Gradually whisk in the cornmeal and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, about 15 minutes (with fine cornmeal although it could take up to 30 minutes with medium cornmeal).
-Remove from heat and stir in butter and honey.

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