Saturday, April 30, 2011

Please Pass the Grits!

 My mother is a wonderful cook and has taken up Southern cooking since she moved to Florida. During my most recent visit, she made Shrimp and Grits for supper one night. I loved it. I've made it several times now. Sometimes I use asparagus instead of shrimp. It's delicious.

 I've also started making Grits and Blackberries. So good. Mmm. I could eat Grits and Blackberries daily. Actually, for the past few days, I have.

Grits are my new favorite comfort food. And they're not bad for you. A one cup serving has 143 calories, less than one gram of fat, three grams of protein, 31 grams of carbs, and you control the sodium completely when you decide how much salt to use when cooking them. They are high in folate, and are a good source of iron, niacin, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, and vitamin A. I don't recommend quick grits, or even following the directions on a box of regular grits. I think the slower method described in the recipe below, including the sitting and reheating time, makes a big difference. So worth the wait!

Shrimp (or Asparagus) and Grits

1 cup stone ground white grits (I've used yellow grits, too)
5 cups water
 salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 T. butter

2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 of a medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 of a bell pepper, finely chopped (I like red or orange)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (or however much asparagus you want)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 T. flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 T. fresh lemon juice

Place grits in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in five cups of water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a simmer, whisking until it begins to thicken. Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom and sides with a wooden spoon, for 45 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 30 minutes (or up to an hour).

Heat 2 T. olive oil in a pan. Saute garlic, onion, and bell pepper over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Season shrimp (or asparagus) on both sides with salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium high. Push vegetables to side of pan. Add the extra 1T. olive oil if necessary. Sear shrimp (or asparagus) in a single layer for two minutes. Flip and sear for one minute. Push shrimp to edge of pan. Sprinkle flour in center of pan. Cook, stirring flour into vegetable/shrimp mixture, for two minutes. Add chicken stock. Simmer until sauce thickens, about two minutes. Add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, reheat grits over medium-low heat. Stir in cheese and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve shrimp (or asparagus) over grits. Don't go too heavy on the sauce. In the asparagus picture above, I went a little heavy on the sauce. You don't need that much.

Grits and Blackberries

Follow directions for grits in the above recipe, omitting the cheese and the pepper. Sprinkle blackberries with sugar (you can use an artificial sweetener) and heat in microwave until berries are juicy and hot. Put reheated grits in a bowl. Add a dab of butter if you want. Pour berries and juice over grits.

1 comment:

  1. Marion is has a strong southern heritage and would occasionally fix himself some grits, but I never tried them...until recently when my sister was here for an extended stay. She has picked up a lot of southern cooking habits from her years in Virginia and St. Louis. She eats grits all the time. I tried them one day when I was starving. They were quite good. I could definitely get attached.