I went to college in South Carolina. In the four years I lived there I really don’t remember ever eating grits. I’ve been back to visit a number of times but I never choose grits off the menu. Why? I really don’t know. Maybe I like everything that much more & I’m afraid of change. I did have grits at the fabulous wedding we attended in Charleston back in April but other than that time I can’t remember the last time before that was. Nevertheless, I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine & I felt like I had to try to make it.
First up was finding “grits” in my local Hoboken, NJ grocery store. Given that it’s a Southern staple I didn’t think I’d have much luck finding it here. My assumption was true. There wasn’t one package (that I could find) that was labeled “grits” so I found the next best thing (which in my opinion is the same thing) - coarse ground cornmeal. I’ve used it to make polenta before so I took a gamble thinking it would work for grits.
You might be thinking: what’s the difference between grits & polenta? So did I. I really have no idea. Seems to me it’s a matter of semantics, read more about the theory on that here.
Chris doesn’t remember being a huge fan of grits either but I have a feeling we’ll be having this for dinner again very soon - it’s that good. I now love grits or at least these grits!
Recipe (adapted slightly) from Bon Appetit
- 3 ears of corn, husked
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup grits (not instant) - or coarse ground cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt & pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 small red onion or large shallot, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (the original recipe calls for 2 cloves but we like garlic here)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika or ½ tsp. smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1½ pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
- 1 handful fresh parsley chopped for plating (the original uses chopped chives but I didn’t have any)
- Grate 2 ears of corn on the large holes of a box grater over a medium bowl, catching as much juice as possible; set aside.
- Cut kernels from remaining ear of corn into another medium bowl; set aside.
- Bring broth, milk, and 1½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Reduce heat so liquid is at a simmer and gradually whisk in grits. Simmer, whisking often, until grits are very tender, 20–25 minutes.
- Mix in butter and reserved grated corn; season with salt and pepper.
- Fifteen minutes after you have added grits to saucepan, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook onions until translucent.
- Add garlic, oregano, and paprika, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add reserved kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and beginning to pop, about 3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
- Add shrimp and cook, tossing occasionally, until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
- Serve shrimp and corn over grits topped with parsley.