Shrimp and grits are among my favorite luxury comfort foods. It ranks pretty close to lobster mac and cheese and seafood gumbo. The recipe for this decadent dish is not only easy to make, it is affordable and easy to adapt. I encourage you to buy shrimp when they are on sale or if you’d prefer something all together different; you can switch out the shrimp for blackened cod or your favorite étouffée.
I use polenta for my recipe because I prefer the texture to grits. I you are curious about the differences between polenta and grits check out this link to thekitchn.
Gruyère cheese is used because I really like its nutty flavor paired with the spicy shrimp and creamy corn polenta.
Gruyère Grits (polenta) Ingredients:
1 cup of polenta or corn grits
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon of sea salt
¼ cup of grated Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon of butter
One thing to keep in mind is that preparing the grits will take 20-25 minutes. So grab your favorite beverage and relax next to the stove.
To make the polenta, add the water to a pot along with the salt and bring to a boil. Once the water has reached a boil add the polenta and stir. Turn the heat to low and continue to stir. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of water. The polenta should be smooth. After 20 minutes, taste the polenta – the grains should be tender. If not, cook for another 5 minutes. If they are done, stir in the butter and the Gruyère cheese. Set aside
Spicy Herbed Shrimp Ingredients:
In terms of quantity, the one thing you want to decide on is the number of shrimp per serving. I like to go 3-4 large shrimp per plate.
1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons rosemary sea salt
½ lemon, zest and juice
1 tablespoon of butter
¼ cup sliced green onion (reserve some for garnish)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a medium sized bowl, add the shrimp, spices, lemon zest, lemon juice, most of the green onion and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until the shrimp and covered with the seasoning blend.
Turn a skillet to medium high. When the pan it hot add the remaining tablespoon of oil followed by the shrimp. Cook the shrimp for 6-8 minutes, turn each one individually or shake the pan to turn them. They will be slightly underdone, which is ideal. Remove from the heat, add the butter and cover the pan. The residual heat will finish cooking the shrimp and the steam combined with the butter will help create a bit of a sauce.
To prepare dish, add about ½ a cup of the cooked polenta to a plate or bowl. Artfully add the cooked shrimp and some of the pan sauce. Garnish with sliced green onion.