Food for My Soul: Blackened Shrimp and Gruyere Grits
There aren’t many foods that scream that they are from the south the way “shrimp and grits” does. For many people, it’s reminiscent of Lowcountry foods – those born out of the seafood rich coastal areas of the Carolinas and Georgia. But Texas has its own shoreline and it’s not far from my hometown of Houston, so you may think South Carolina when someone says, “shrimp and grits,” but I think of my very own kitchen.
My girlfriends, Caz and Giraffe, would attest that rarely will I pass up shrimp and grits on a lunch menu. If it’s there, odds are I’m ordering it, especially at a handful of locations that I think do a particularly good job on them. I prefer the shrimp grilled or blackened, but will eat it fried if it’s not crazy thick batter. I like the grits to include butter and cheese, but not be yellow as a result of the quantity. I don’t like soupy shrimp and grits as I prefer to be able to eat it with a fork rather than a spoon. So, you see, I do have shrimp and grit standards.
And there should always, and I do mean always, be hot sauce.
Generally speaking I like my shrimp and grits pretty simply. I don’t *need* bacon or sausage or any of the others goodies you often see added into them. I need shrimp and I need grits. That’s how this quick dish came into being. It’s quick, easy and fulfills all of my shrimp and grits requirements and has a little something special in the cheese. You could use whatever cheese you love best and get that same feeling of satisfaction I get from gruyere, or you could just trust that I’m right. The slightly sweet and nutty flavor of gruyere is just enough to stand up to seasoned shrimp and truly makes the grits sing. It’s not the only way I eat shrimp and grits, but blackened and with gruyere? It’s definitely one of my favorites.
- Serves: 4
- Serving size: 1 cup grits, ¼th of the shrimp
- Calories: 399
- Fat: 13.4g
- Saturated fat: 6.9g
- Unsaturated fat: 5.3g
- Carbohydrates: 33.8g
- Sugar: 1.6g
- Sodium: 457mg
- Fiber: 1.2g
- Protein: 37.3g
- Cholesterol: 210.1
- 1 pound medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons blackening seasoning (I use Old Bay's version)
- cooking spray
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup dry stone-ground grits
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons light unsalted butter, divided
- ½ cup skim milk
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup gruyere, grated
- Frank's Red Hot Sauce, to taste
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Heat a large non-stick skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium heat.
- In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with blackening seasoning and lemon juice, coating them all evenly.
- In the skillet, place ½ the shrimp, cooking until done, turning halfway through. Repeat with the second half while keeping the already-cooked shrimp warm.
- Meanwhile, bring the 4 cups of water, salt and 1 tablespoon of butter to a boil. Stir in the grits, reduce heat, cover and continue to cook, stirring periodically for about 15 minutes or until the water has been completely absorbed.
- Add the milk, gruyere and additional tablespoon of butter, stirring until all are well blended into the grits. Continue to simmer and stir, partially covered until the liquid is completely absorbed and the grits are the consistency of mashed potatoes (about 10 -15 more minutes.)
- Serve 1 cup of grits and ¼th of the shrimp with Frank's Red Hot to taste and green onions on top.
By the way, I love shrimp and grits so much that I made them into a fritter – Check it out!