Wheatless Wednesday – Grilled Shrimp and Cheesy Grits2

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Spoiler Alert!  I warned that my recent trip to Charleston would spill over into my kitchen.  Monday’s Charred Okra with Tomatoes should have been your first clue.  Shrimp and Grits is about as Southern a dish as you can find.  It is found on almost every menu in Charleston and is especially loved for breakfast. Many of the recipes call for ham, sausage, bacon, bacon fat or lard so this recipe may not be completely traditional but I found that every restaurant (and cook) has their own recipe, so anything goes.  The two important ingredients are fresh shrimp and ground corn (grits), not instant.

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As I was about to head back to California, I was gifted two bags of grits, both white and yellow, from Geechie Boy Mill, a local family owned farm that prides itself on  growing the best produce and milling the finest grits and cornmeal. Geechie Boy products are all authentic. Heirloom corn, heralding back to the early Native Americans, is used in the antique gristmills (photo below), which preserve the natural oils and flavors of the corn resulting in the most flavorful grits. The farm is home to four working mills, including a 1945 model on display in the on-site market and an 1847 mill, one of the earliest American-made mills. If you are in the Charleston area, you can stop by The Geechie Boy Market at the farm on Edisto Island and purchase grits and other seasonal produce.  If you aren’t in the area, you can purchase online by clicking HERE and they will ship directly to you.  I have never made grits before but they were creamy and delicious and very easy to make!  I love supporting small local farmers that create quality products and I hope you do too.  Fun Fact:  So what does Geechie mean?  Their website defines it as ‘Someone whose family has been in the South Carolina Lowcountry since forever”.

There are many ways to cook grits, and I’m sure everyone has their favorite method, but as a first timer, I chose the simple technique of cooking the grits in water and then stirring in butter and cheeses at the end, rather than messing with heating milk or cream. I loved the result which was creamy and flavorful.  I used sharp white cheddar and parmesan but you can use any cheeses you have on hand.  The shrimp was tasty, grilled with a honey, black pepper glaze and topped with loads of fresh herbs and lemon zest. The shrimp recipe was adapted from Summer Herbed Grilled Shrimp Recipe from Cooking Light July, 2015
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CHEESY GRITS

1 cup white grits
4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsn unsalted butter
2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
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GRILLED SHRIMP

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

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  • Combine the grits, water, salt and half of the butter in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

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  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes. If the grits become too thick, add more water.

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  • Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the cheeses.

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  • While the grits are cooking, prepare the shrimp: Rinse and pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Put the shrimp in a bowl with 1 Tbsn oil, honey, pepper and salt and toss to coat.

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  • Combine parsley, onion, lemon zest, oregano and garlic in a small bowl. Add remaining oil and vinegar and set aside.

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  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Arrange shrimp on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove shrimp from grill to a serving platter.

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  • Top shrimp with herb mixture.

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  • Serve shrimp over cheesy grits.

Grilled Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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CHEESY GRITS

1 cup white grits
4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsn unsalted butter
2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

GRILLED SHRIMP

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    • Combine the grits, water, salt and half of the butter in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes. If the grits become too thick, add more water.
    • Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and the cheeses.
    • While the grits are cooking, prepare the shrimp: Rinse and pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Put the shrimp in a bowl with 1 Tbsn oil, honey, pepper and salt and toss to coat.
    • Combine parsley, onion, lemon zest, oregano and garlic in a small bowl. Add remaining oil and vinegar and set aside.
    • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
    • Arrange shrimp on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove shrimp from gril to a serving platterl.
    • Top shrimp with herb mixture.
    • Serve shrimp over cheesy grits.

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