Paul and I are picky grits eaters. He’s a Yankee, so grits were not a part of his childhood in upstate New York. I grew up with Asian parents… ‘nough said.
When I moved to Atlanta my experiences of grits was limited to chain breakfast restaurant buffets. To me, grits were tiny pieces of gooey cardboard. Why would I want to eat that? And why would anyone willingly eat this stuff? So, I managed to avoid eating any type of grits for the first three years of living in Georgia.
Finally in 2004, I had my first really, really good serving of grits. It was at this well-known Atlanta eatery: West Egg Cafe. A friend took me there and said that I needed to try the grits. Reluctantly I ordered a side of it and after tasting those grits, I realized that grits actually could actually be delicious. Turns out, I just needed someone to cook and flavor grits properly.
Paul’s first experience with grits was in Auburn, Alabama. His roommate’s parents made a dish of shrimp & grits. Paul ate them to be polite and they turned out to be good. His second time was at this Southern establishment: Flying Biscuit, where he now regularly orders a side of grits with his meal.
Shrimp and grits is one of those iconic Southern recipes that originated in the Low Country. It was about time I tried my hand at making some grits… with shrimp.
For my first try at grit making, I choose to use local, Georgia made grits (love buying local!), there’s just something about local food that makes it taste that much better. And of course Georgia shrimp.
And believe it or not, this was also my first time cooking with jalapenos. I’d always been a bit hesitant with cooking with these little peppers because I’m not a big fan of spicy foods, and Paul… well, he thinks that he doesn’t like jalapenos. But, I removed the seeds from the one that I used and the result was a nice, little kick to the dish.
The cheddar cheese in the grits paired really well with the spicy shrimp on top. The heat from the spices in the shrimp are balanced out by the cheese in the grits. Blending the citrus Thai Shrimp with Southern, cheesy grits made for one fun meal that was perfect for the summer.
|Thai Shrimp and Grits||
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup stone-ground grits
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- Juice from one lime
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, diced (if you want more heat, include the seeds)
- 1/2 pound Georgia shrimp, devined and shelled
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 basil leaves, chopped
- Boil the water, add the grits and let simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or until all of the water is gone. Then remove from heat and stir in butter and cheddar cheese.
- After the grits have cooked for about 15 minutes, heat the olive oil in a wok.
- Add the garlic and the jalapeno to the vegetable oil and saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the shrimp to the wok and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add the lime juice mixture and basil to the wok and saute for another 3 – 4 minutes, until the shrimp is pink and done.
- Spoon the grits into a bowl, and place shrimp on top
- Serve and enjoy!