Last year, Jeff and I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina and enjoyed the best shrimp and grits dinner at Carolina's. Since that time, we have been in search of a shrimp and grits recipe. Carolina's shrimp and grits was made with andouille sausage, which brought an amazing flavor to the dish. We found a recipe with the andouille sausage but it just didn't taste the same. We weren't sure if it was the recipe or the grits. We just couldn't get it right.
A few weeks ago, Jeff found another shrimp and grits recipe which looked pretty good. The ingredients were basic and it had bacon instead of sausage. This Shrimp and Grits recipe was from Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; it was highlighted in Saveur Magazine.
We loved this recipe for two reasons. Not only did it taste great, but we have served it both as a main course as well as an appetizer when we recently entertained friends. We still have a little bit of difficulty with grits. We found the instant grits were easy and tasty. The next time we make it, we will attempt stone-ground grits, and will probably take the hint from the restaurant and let the grits soak overnight.
Like the cooks at Crook's Corner, the celebrated restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, we recommend using stone-ground grits. They take more time to cook, but their flavor and texture are richer than instant grits. For quicker cooking, let the grits soak in water in the refrigerator overnight.
1 cup white or yellow stone-ground grits
3/4 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup parmesan
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. canola oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb. medium shrimp (about 30), peeled
Freshly ground black pepper
6 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges
1/2 tsp. hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1. In a 2-qt. saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, 30–40 minutes. (Whisk in more water for thinner grits.) Whisk in cheddar, parmesan, and 1 tbsp. butter and season with salt; cover and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet.
3. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp to skillet and cook, turning once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium; add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute. Raise heat to high, add chicken broth, and scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. Cook until broth reduces by half, 3 minutes. Return shrimp to skillet along with the lemon juice, remaining butter, and hot sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and its sauce. Garnish each bowl with bacon, scallions, and lemon wedges.