Crystal Coast Shrimp and Grits

Submitted by OcracokeWaves on Sat, 04/11/2009 - 02:20.

Actually there is no such thing as an official Crystal Coast shrimp and grits.  There are as many recipes as restaurants and people who make them at home.  We do have one great advantage here, and that is great shrimp.
As my Mother, the grand lady of Pine Street, used to say, "Use the best of ingredients if you want a great meal."  I was reminded of her words recently when we visited a Red Lobster in Roanoke, Va.

We did not have a bad meal at Red Lobster, in fact it was a good meal.  If could have been a great meal if some of the ingredients had been better.   The shrimp were tiny.  The lobster tails and crab legs were also very small.  Our thirty dollars in coupons and gift certificates kept our cost at $32.  Otherwise it would have been an expensive and unmemorable meal.  We even had water as our beverage.  All it made me remember was the recent dish of shrimp and grits that we had made at home.

My wife has tried shrimp and grits in many of the local eateries. She is not fond of the very spicy recipes.  I generally like my shrimp fried or lightly boiled with Kelchner's cocktail sauce.  We almost always fix the cocktail shrimp ourselves. I have detailed the steps in this post, the easy way to perfect shrimp.

Almost all our local restaurants know how to cook shrimp properly. In my book that means with little or no breading. 

Still there are times that you need a dish a little fancier for company at home.  Shrimp with grits fills that bill and is easy to do and economical.

We started with 1.25 lbs of shrimp with the heads off.  In case you do not understand the guy behind the fish counter when you ask for shrimp, he is probably asking if you want the heads on or heads off. Get them with the heads off.  Your wife will be happier.

Our next ingredient was a package of seasoned grits from Savor the Flavor of Sumter, SC.  I think you can do fine with a package of regular grits and experiment with some hot spices that you personally like.  Our grits were garlic cheese grits. 

When I was half done cleaning the shrimp which I consider a very important step, my wife started boiling the grits. The grits took twelve to fifteen minutes to get ready.  She also sauteed a few chopped onions in a pan with olive oil. 

If we had been using unseasoned grits, we likely would have added some garlic to the onions. We happened to have a couple of pieces of already cooked bacon so she crumbled that and set it aside. 

Just before the grits were done and removed from the heat, she stirred in a few pieces of cheddar cheese.  Then she put the shrimp which I had just finished into the frying pan which she had used to cook the onions.  She cooked the shrimp for about three minutes.  I think she turned each shrimp once.  Shrimp do not take long to cook and get tough if they are over cooked.  As my Mother used to say, "Cook until done."

Then all we did was spoon some grits onto a plate, add a spoonful of cooked shrimp and chopped onions, and sprinkle some of the bacon crumbles on top of it.

It was a much more memorable meal than our recent restaurant meal.  It was also a lot cheaper. I think we figured it cost us about $15 to make, and it would have easily served four people especially if you added a salad.  As it was, we got two big meals and two appetizer servings for $15.

There is nothing better than local seafood.  Shrimp and grits can be ready in just minutes.

If you want to confuse yourself with more recipes, try this link.  I think it is pretty hard to mess up shrimp and grits even without a recipe.