A decade ago, my husband and I were served Shrimp and Grits at a restaurant in Columbus, Georgia. I don’t believe the restaurant survived the years, but this savory darker version of Shrimp and Grits stayed in my mind and began my quest to recreate what has become our and some of our guests’ favorite dish.
I have started a seated dinner with two of these jumbo shrimp, tail on, grits and sauce, served in a Staffordshire tea cup, and I have served this as a main course. It is quick, elegant, and oh so tasty. The original recipe has pounds of butter, but I have reduced the fat and substituted some olive oil without compromising the rich flavor.
My shrimp is akin to a New Orleans Cajun or Barbecue Shrimp and my grits are always stone ground from a local grits mill. You can use brand name grits if stone ground are not available in your area. Raw, frozen, large or jumbo shrimp make this recipe a breeze. Tail on or tail off is your choice, but you want them pealed and deveined. When I served this in a tea cup as a small bite, I found that tail on was easy because the guests could pick up the shrimp with their fingers, but for dinner I prefer large tail off shrimp just so you don’t have to deal with the discarded tails or slip them to the dog under the table. Haha.
My husband gave me a gorgeous iron casserole pan for Christmas and I cooked the shrimp portion of this dish in that pan. The grits are cooked in a sauce pan at the same time.
Ingredients are simple. Serves 6 as a main course
3 lbs of large or jumbo frozen raw shrimp pealed, deveined, and tail on or off…your preference
1/2 cup butter (that’s one stick or 1/2 of a 7 oz block of European butter -which is my preference)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Spanish or yellow onion, minced
3 stalks celery, minced
2 T good Creole Seasoning (less or more depending on your heat preference and tolerance).
2 T dried rosemary
2 T dried parsley
3 T minced garlic
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 t salt (plus more to taste-the creole seasoning has some in it)
Ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375.
Start Grits: Grits are cooked in a saucepan according to package directions (usually 1 cup grits to 2 cups water equals 3 cups of grits.) Grits will cook while you cook the shrimp.
In a large black skillet melt 1/4 cup butter in 1/4 cup olive oil.
Add onion and celery and sauté until nearly transparent. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant. Add all of the other herbs and seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and remaining butter, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. I could drink this stuff. So delicious.
Add all of the frozen shrimp into the pan and turn off the heat. Turn the shrimp over until they are all covered in this dark savory goodness. Put the skillet/casserole in the oven to cook while you stir and finish your grits. Add a smidgen of butter to the grits also if you want to be fancy.
Cook the shrimp in the oven until they are beautifully pink, turning them in the sauce if necessary to make sure they are all done. Don’t overcook or they will be rubbery. From frozen they should take 15-20 minutes.
That’s it. Serve in a bowl with a 1/2 cup of grits, some shrimp and the delicious sauce. It’s beautiful, it’s savory and it’s quick. Add fresh parsley or a thin shred of curly kale if desired for color.
Hope you enjoy this recipe. We had it tonight, and I’m so glad I was reminded to share with you. It has been jelly canning and garden season here, and I have not had a minute to write! Hope your summer has been beautiful and your dishes have been memorable!
Your Iron Maiden,
Black Skillet Cooking