Living in the south sure has it’s plentiful benefits of it’s surrounding cuisine. I remember the flood of feelings when I took my first bite of a true dish known as “shrimp & grits.”
I was about 21, still expanding my palette. I’ll never forget the harmony of flavors blending together to create this amazing flavor I’ve since then tried to reproduce myself. I had the pleasure of knowing a handful of people that worked at an Atlanta treasured restaurant, Horseradish Grill. An old barn converted into a quaint & cozy spot, located near a well known outdoor venue, Chastain Park. This is where that famous dish resides. I highly recommend anyone who lives in Atlanta or not, to stop by & try this amazing creation, a true southern experience all around.
When I ran my first half marathon, Thanksgiving of 2006, the owner was kind enough to donate half of one nights profits towards my fundraising for the leukemia & lymphoma society, the team in training. (just a random side note)
Being first generation born into the south & trying to flee this spot over time without any real success, due to unforeseen circumstances, I decided to really relish my surroundings & learn to embrace my environment. Living in the south has many great advantages, of course the top of that list being incredible eats.
We received a care package from a southern spot, called Bradley’s Country Store in Tallahassee, FL from “uncle tim” over christmas & in it was a bag of real stone ground grits.
It’s been on my mind since we got these to go for a batch of Shrimp & Grits.
Grits have been a true staple to the south for years dated way back to when the Native American tribe, Muskogee would grind a Native American corn resembling hominy in a stone mill giving it a “gritty” texture.
There are known writings found from the Gullah Geechee, descendants of slaves from West Africa, that mention meals resembling shrimp & grits. Living off the southern coastal ways, catching shrimp among other seafood, they would prepare this famous dish we all know & love. There is so much more to the story, but that pretty much sums up the birth of it.
There are so many different versions of shrimp & grits… The main thing is to stay as close to the flavor profile without totally overdoing it. I stuck with cast iron & of course I rendered bacon fat to cook both the vegetables & shrimp, but by the time the shrimp hit the pan, most of the peppers & onions had absorbed the bacon & thats when I added lemon juice & zest to them to perk them up a bit.
I must say, it came together rather well. This will be a staple on my menu.
I added clove to the shrimp as I read in many shrimp & grits recipes, that was a redundant spice amongst most dishes. I also learned that it was used to cover the shrimpy flavor of not so fresh shrimp. To me, I felt it brought out the flavor of the shrimp & it was the first time I ever used clove with shellfish. It was a really great dish overall.
- 3/4 lb. shrimp
- 4 cups [url href=”http://www.susansimplyhealthy.com/homemade-vegetable-stock/” title=”Vegetable Stock”]vegetable stock[/url]
- 1 t sea salt
- 1 cup uncooked stone ground grits
- 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar
- 1/2 red bell pepper, large julienne
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, large julienne
- 1/2 red onion, large julienne
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 slices bacon, (i use nitrate free)
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper
- 1/2 t ground clove
- Prepare the grits: rinse them under cold water, removing any debris
- Bring 4 cups stock to boil with the salt, add the grits & cook over low heat 45 min – 1 hour
- Once grits have finished cooking, add shredded white cheddar
- Cook bacon in skillet, remove when done, leaving all grease behind, crumble bacon once cool enough to handle
- Add peppers, onions & garlic to the greasy skillet & cook until they are softened, set aside
- Now cook the shrimp in the same skillet with the zest & juice of the lemon, red pepper flakes, cloves & parsley. Cook until no longer translucent. About 3-5 minutes.