Shrimp and Grits

Sometimes I feel like Bubba Blue from “Forrest Gump” about shrimp. Fried shrimp, steamed shrimp, shrimp tacos, shrimp salad, shrimp scampi, shrimp enchiladas, shrimp alfredo, spicy shrimp – it’s so versatile, and yet sometimes I’m left feeling like I’ve tried it all. And, that’s just crazy talk!

But frankly, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d not made the southern classic shrimp and grits in my kitchen. I hadn’t even had it until I had the opportunity to visit Charleston a few months ago for the Wine + Food Festival. I mentioned something to the young woman who was managing the prep tents for tastings – just that I hoped to get a taste of some REAL grits while there in Charleston. 5 minutes later she returned to me with the perfect little portion of shrimp & grits that they were preparing for a tasting somewhere on the Festival grounds – and it was divine. She even brought me a tub of grits milled locally on nearby Edisto Island to take home. How sweet was that? I swear, it’s the most hospitable city in the world!

Matt & Ted Lee also released their new cookbook during the festival. I had the opportunity to attend a book signing that they did, and I completely embarrassed myself proclaiming my love for their Pork Tenderloin with Madiera Fig Gravy (it’s life changing). They were all that they seemed, completely down to Earth – and just plain cool.

The Lee Bros

And of course the cookbook is fabulous. Their recipes never let me down, and this one is no exception. I loved the addition of fresh pureed tomatoes in the sauce. It adds such a bright note to a dish that’s teeming with porky savoryness and shrimpy goodness. I did add a little bit of finely diced green pepper – just because I had a half of one in the fridge. And many other recipes I’d seen incorporated it as an ingredient. And the grits – the grits! In the name of all things Holy, they were delicious. While I always associated grits with the gruel like substance on breakfast buffets, these were a world away. Perfectly thick and creamy, and just the right bed for these delicious saucy shrimp.

So, needless to say – I’m completely sold on the shrimp and grits thing. This dish will definitely be on our menu rotation relatively often. Big thanks to the good people of Charleston for introducing me to this new favorite! Now to go mail-order some more Geechie Boy Mills grits – we’ll be out before we know it! 

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