Ahhhh. Shrimp n’ Grits.
A true Southern classic that always makes me think of my Grandmama and trips to Virginia.
She would always have a pot of grits with eggs ready for breakfast with out fail.
And I remember one rare event that I got to have a lunch date with just her and myself. I say rare because I come from a family of 22 aunts and uncles and 44 cousins. That’s not including the 28 great grandchildren. Bringing my family count to a whopping 96 people.
So those one on one moments were precious.
We went out to lunch and ordered the Shrimp and Grits and Crab Cakes. We sat outside on the water of Norfolk. Looking out on the Chesapeake Bay. With thick white linen napkins in our laps we made comments about how lady like we were and how fancy our lunch was. Grandmama has a way of making any situation, no matter how ordinary it may seem, like the most extravagant thing ever. A fantastic character trait and a great inspiration.
Shrimp and Grits with Collard Greens
Adapted from Saveur
½ C grits
1/3 C Parmesan cheese, grated
2 TB butter
2 slices bacon
8 pieces of medium shrimp
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
½ C finely chopped onion ( ~ half a small onion)
4 leaves of collards
1 clove garlic
¼ C chicken broth
1 TB fresh lemon juice
First things first – de-vein and peel your shrimp.
You can most certainly ask the fishmonger to do this for you to save a step. But in the case you like a challenge like myself here are a couple simple steps to follow.
You will need a pair of kitchen sheers and or a small paring knife, a folded piece of paper towel to discard the veins on and a plate to place clean shrimp on.
Start by holding the shrimp in your hand with the spine of the shrimp facing upwards.
With a pair of kitchen sheers or small paring knife make a shallow incision through the shell starting from the head side to the start of the tail. I like to keep the tails on while cooking so I stopped my incision right at the base of the tail. But if you want to remove the tail go right ahead.
With a small pairing knife remove that dark vein that runs down the shrimp’s back and discard on the paper towel.
Peel back the shells and discard.
Sprinkle shrimp with a pinch of salt and ½ teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning. Toss over on plate so shrimp are coated in seasoning. Place shrimp in fridge until you are ready for them.
Bring 1 cup of salted water to a boil. Add grits, stirring until the water comes back to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until grits are tender. Make sure to stir frequently with a whisk to prevent lumps.
After grits are done add grated Parmesan and 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir until melted. Salt to taste. Remove from heat, cover and set on a back burner.
While grits are cooking get going on the bacon.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy, about 10 minutes.
Remove bacon with a fork and place over a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Crumble once cooled.
Reserve bacon fat in skillet.
Turn the skillet with bacon fat to medium high.
Bring the shrimp out of the fridge and place in skillet. Take note what time it is when you place the first shrimp down on the skillet. Place each shrimp down in a fan pattern so you can tell which one you put down first.
Cook shrimp for 1 minute on one side and then flip and cook for another minute on the other side. When shrimp are bright pink remove from heat with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on a plate.
Lower heat to medium and add chopped onions. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
While onions are cooking, chop up collard greens. Start by removing the thick stem down the middle.
Fold each leave in half and stack them up on each other.
Roll the stack into a log and slice into thin ribbons.
Once onions are tender add collards and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Raise heat to high and add chicken broth.
Using a wooden spoon scrape bottom of skillet to loosen up all the brown flavor bits.
Cook for a couple minutes until broth reduces slightly.
Add remaining tablespoon of butter and lemon juice. Cook for another minute until a slight sauce forms.
Add shrimp and bacon. Stir a couple times and turn off the heat.
Divide grits into 2 dishes, top with collards and shrimp. Serve and enjoy.