Shrimp and Grits

We moved to South Carolina in July.  Since moving here, I have been honing my southern cooking skills and trying to learn more about the cuisine of this backasswards state.  Grits is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of South Carolina food.  These people LOVE their grits.  On my baby’s first visit (at 9 months) to his new pediatrician, I was told to go ahead and get him started on grits immediately.  I had never cooked grits before moving here and it has taken me several attempts to make decent grits.  I have found that the key to creamy grits is to use at least some milk when cooking them (I use half milk, half water).  It also helps to add lots of  butter  and to stir often while they are cooking.   Shrimp and grits is the quintessential South Carolina dish and one of the first recipes I tried.  There are countless variations, but we really like this particular recipe.  I serve the shrimp and grits with stewed okra and tomatoes and sometimes collard greens.  Very Southern.

Shrimp and Grits

1 pound medium-size raw shrimp (31/40 count)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 bacon slices, chopped
1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Prepared grits

1. Peel and devein shrimp. Toss shrimp with flour until lightly coated, shaking to remove excess.

2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels.  Reserve drippings in skillet.  If you would like to reduce the fat content of this dish, pour excessive drippings into a glass container and only leave 1 or 2 tablespoons in the skillet.

3. Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings 4 minutes or just until mushrooms begin to release their liquid. Add shrimp, and sauté 3 to 3 1/2 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute (do not brown garlic). Add lemon juice and hot sauce. Sprinkle with bacon and serve immediately over prepared grits.

Adapted from the Hominy Grill’s Shrimp and Grits found in Southern Living, MAY 2009

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