Over the weekend I went to Food Blog South, a celebration of Southern food and Southern bloggers.
This first time conference was, overall, a wonderful experience and I highly recommend those interested in the food culture of the South to consider attending their next event. Our lunch during the conference was a favorite of mine – grits! We had three options for topping the grits: green beans, braised pork cheeks, and Gulf Coast shrimp. Of the three I tried the braised pork and the Gulf shrimp, and both were great. So great, in fact, that it stuck with me all the way back home to Dallas.
In this dish I used Gulf Coast shrimp. During the conference there was a panel discussion regarding the safety of seafood in the Gulf after the oil disaster. What you may not know is that, so far, it looks like seafood coming from the Gulf is safe to eat … and I will add that it is just as delicious as ever. With my shrimp at the ready I next needed to decide how to cook them. I decided to marinate and grill my shrimp. Grilling adds a smokey flavor to the shrimp that, when nestled on a bed of wonderfully cheesy grits, is irresistible. I did add a little drizzle of spicy hot sauce … cause I likes it spicy! Creamy grits topped with slightly charred shrimp absolutely can not be beat!
Grilled Shrimp and Cheese Grits Serves 4
For the shrimp:
1 pound peeled, tail on shrimp (21/25 preferred)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
For the grits:
1 1/2 cup milk, 2% or higher
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quick cooking grits, or polenta
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 ounces fresh grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon butter
In a medium bowl combine the shrimp, lemon juice, oil, salt, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and pepper. Toss to coat and allow to stand for ten minutes. Thread the shrimp on metal, or soaked wood, skewers and drizzle the marinade over the shrimp. Allow to stand for an additional five minutes.
Heat a grill pan, or a charcoal or gas grill, to medium heat. Grill the shrimp until pink and opaque, about two minutes per side. Wrap the cooked shrimp loosely in foil while you prepare the grits.
In a medium sauce pan combine the milk, chicken stock, water, and salt until it boils. Slowly whisk in the grits then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring constantly, until the grits are tender and thickened, about five minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cheeses, hot sauce, and butter. Stir until melted and combined.
Serve the shrimp over the grits with a drizzle of hot sauce, if desired, or a spritz of lemon.