Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dinner for Real: Savory Shrimp and Grits

Are you enticed or repulsed by the title of today's post? If you're not a grits person, I urge you to try them. Yes, they're Southern, but they're so delicious. And if you just can't get past the idea of cooking something so Southern, try thinking in terms of polenta. Did you know grits and polenta are the same thing?

One staple I always have in my freezer is a bag of frozen shrimp. I buy two-pound bags of raw shrimp in the shell. I like the 21-30 count shrimp: that is, each pound includes 21-30 shrimp. They're a nice size and very versatile for recipes. And my local supermarket often has them on sale; I usually pay less than $10 per bag.

Crook's Corner, a famous little restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (just a few miles from me) claims to have originated the dish called Shrimp and Grits. Theirs is delicious--the shrimp are sauteed with bacon, scallions, and mushrooms. But I have a feeling that people have been serving shrimp and grits together for hundreds of years.

Here's the way I prepare shrimp--simple enough for every day; tasty enough for special occasions. (Note: This recipe is derived from the recipe called "Beach Shrimp" that was once published in Southern Living magazine. My sister shared it with me, and I tailored it for our tastes.)

Oven-Prepared Shrimp

2 to 4 pounds frozen shrimp

2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

1 16-ounce bottle Italian dressing

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small chunks

Thaw shrimp according to package directions. Peel shrimp.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place shrimp in pan.

Mix together Italian dressing, chopped garlic, pepper, and the lemon juice. Pour over shrimp and toss to coat. Dot with butter.

Bake about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

When I'm cooking for the four of us who are usually at home for dinner these days, I prepare 1 2 lb. bag of shrimp, but this recipe could easily accommodate a second 2 lb. bag. The recipe makes lots of yummy sauce.

Spoon shrimp atop your favorite grits, adding sauce as desired.

I like my grits nice and simple. If you don't already have a recipe for grits, here's how I prepare them. (If you do a search I'm sure you can find lots of good recipes for fancy grits. I've heard that Paula Deen's cheese grits casserole is good.)

Stovetop Grits

2 cups water

2 cups milk

1 cup stone-ground grits (I use half yellow, half white. If you can't find stone-ground grits, look for stone-ground polenta. Same thing.)

Pour water and milk into saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add grits to liquid, stirring thoroughly. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until liquid is absorbed and grits are the consistency you like. Salt and pepper to taste; add butter if you like. (Note: Eating grits without salt would be like eating popcorn without salt. Yuck. They need salt. Just so you know.)

Enjoy! And for more real-life dinner recipes, click on "Dinner for Real" link in my sidebar. I hope to feature a down-to-earth dinner recipe every Tuesday. If you have a recipe you'd like to have highlighted here, please email me at RichellaP (at) Gmail (dot) com. I'd love to feature you!

**I'm joining Jen for Tasty Tuesday**


Teri said...

"they're Southern, but they're so delicious" "if you just can't get past the idea of cooking something so Southern"

Seriously? I had no idea our Southern cooking was considered so repulsive.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I understood exactly what you meant by the title and opening of your post.

You were implying that people who are not from or have not lived in the South might find the idea of grits unappealing. But clearly YOU don't feel that way since you just shared this delicious recipe with us. I dig your dry wit, girl. It is a character quality, in my humble opinion. ;)

1x1000 said...

I can't WAIT to try this! Sounds easy enough for me!!


Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top said...

What Amanda said. ;)

And I'm not a big grits fan. But my oldest daughter likes them. And we love shrimp around here.

Is this the first "Dinner for Real"? Did I miss any?

Love Being A Nonny said...

This sounds great....and I LOVE Crook's Corner! We love to eat outside there!!!

Janet said...

OOOH, it's times like this when I wish my husband didn't hate seafood! This sounds sooooo delicious!!


Karen said...

I have never tried grits! I actually googled grits. (gasp! I know) I am going to try your recipes. I always have shrimp in my freezer also. I was watching Worst Cooks on Food Network and they made polenta cakes that everyone raved about. I am going to try them also. I actually learned a lot of cooking tips watching that show. Thanks Richella! Do you make bread in a machine? I have been looking for a good sandwich bread recipe.

Bonita said...

"Are you enticed or repulsed by the title of today's post?"

I had to laugh at your question. The grits don't bother me one bit. It's the shrimp I don't like! haha

Southern Lady said...

I love shrimp and grits! I'm a true southern girl! That recipe sounds simple and yummy. I will have to try it. Carla

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

This looks SO good! I just might have to try it sometime. Wouldn't my family be surprised if GRITS showed up on our dinner table?? :) I'm not sure I can even buy them here!

Love the Decor! said...

I love grits but have always had them with a bit of butter never thought of using them as a "base" for a meal Yum!!

Cherdecor said...

Richella, This recipe sounds so good! I may have to try it. Thanks so much.

At The Picket Fence said...

Totally enticed for sure! I absolutely love anything with shrimp and don't get to have grits very often but really enjoy them. This is such a great series you are doing Richella! :-)

1x1000 said...

I made this for dinner last night. My man loved it and said it's a keeper! I am not a true Grits eater (I've always only had for breakfast and then with sugar and butter, I know, I know), but this recipe was so easy and so good! I added garlic toast and sliced tomatos and onions on the side, drizzled with red wine vingerette. G.O.O.D.

FrouFrouBritches said...

I have actually been DYING to try shrimp and grits. I'm so glad you posted this! I am ashamed to admit that I have never tried grits, but my husband likes grits. I've GOT to try this. I'll let ya know how it goes. Thanks for sharing!

New Every Morning said...

My mouth is watering. Shrimp and Grits is one of my FAVORITE meals. I prefer cheesy grits, but would never turn plain grits down. :)

Thanks for sharing! I love the idea of the shrimp in the oven! So simple! Perfecto.

Paula said...

I love Shrimp and Grits. It wasn't until recent years that I realized how delicious grits are. I wouldn't eat them as a child, but now I think that they are delicious, especially with cheese.

We've made SL's Beach Shrimp while on vacation at the beach for several years. Everyone likes it!

Cyndi@Walking in His Grace said...

Omg that sounds delicious!! I love shrimp and grits.
Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Hope all is well....

Angela said...

I'm from SC and love grits...but I've never made them using milk! Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks!

Dawn said...

i have never had grits or polenta! but when we were in africa we had ugali, which they compared to polenta. kinda makes me not want to try polenta! anyway, this dish does sound tasty... we'll see!!!

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