This dish traditionally was served for breakfast to shrimpers coming into shore after long weeks at sea, but it’s turned into one of Americas favorite trendy comfort foods for dinner. Popular chefs such as Paula Deen, Bobby Flay and Martha Stewart to name a few all have their own version. Celebrated as Low Country cooking it has strong parallels to New Orléans, Cajun, and Caribbean cuisines. But just what, exactly, is Low Country?
If you aren’t familiar with the origination of Low Country cooking; the area stretches along the South Carolina coast from the Savannah River in Georgia north to Pawley’s Island. Think saltwater marsh and Spanish moss hanging from live oaks and you’re thinking Low Country. The region teeming with aquatic life, gives area cooks the basis for almost every meal. The names of many Low Country dishes are as colorful as the local ingredients found in them. She-Crab Soup, Hoppin’ John, Frogmore Stew and Shrimp & Grits are a sampling of this appetizing style of cooking.
Growing up in deep south-east Texas, just at the border of Louisiana, the Low Country and Cajun style of cooking have rubbed off on me and this popular Shrimp & Grits rage has had my mouth-watering. Fresh gulf shrimp, fished from the warm waters of The Gulf of Mexico are my favorite seafood. Probably because for as long as I can remember I’ve eaten them for breakfast, lunch or dinner; fried, boiled, broiled, sautéed, stuffed, or grilled, you won’t catch me turning down these yummy little crustaceans. Oh and warm, creamy, cheesy grits – what’s NOT to like?
It seemed a natural undertaking to come up with a recipe for Shrimp & Grits that worked for me. I perused many recipes, settled on the ingredients I wanted to use and I discovered that wild-caught gulf shrimp, as luck would have it, were on sale at my local grocery store. Whoo Hoo! I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results, creamy, cheesy grits, rich and flavorful gravy, tender shrimp, and bacon! Tell me that doesn’t sound divine!
I’ll be writing about a new bee adventure later in the week. “Powdered Sugar Shake” with live honeybees. Come back soon to read about our latest escapade with the girls! Meantime you have just got to make and eat some Low Country deliciousness. Shrimp & Grits, an old-time favorite now a trendy and popular choice.
Texas Shrimp & Grits
For the Grits:
1 cup yellow grits (instant is fine)
3 cups water or 2 cups water and 1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. white pepper
Bring liquid to a boil, whisk in grits and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until porridge like, stirring consistently. Add cheeses, Tabasco, butter and pepper and mix well. Keep mixture warm.
Ingredients for Shrimp and Gravy:
1 lb. peeled fresh, wild-caught shrimp
1/2 cup of bacon, Tasso or andouille Sausage, cooked and chopped (Tasso would be first choice but I am unable to find it locally)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Cook bacon in skillet, when done remove w/slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. If fat rendered is too little add a bit of canola oil and sauté the mushroom in the same skillet you fried the bacon in. When tender, add green onion, sauté 2 minutes, add garlic, and shrimp. when shrimp begin to turn opaque add remaining ingredients (wine-lemon juice) and continue cooking until shrimp are cooked through and sauce has reduced and warmed through. Be careful not to over cook the shrimp or you will have rubbery, tough sad little creatures.
Spoon warm grits into bowls and top with shrimp mixture, drizzling gravy over all. top with cooked bacon.