Shrimp and Grits

I’ve never eaten grits before, but I always imagined that they’d be like a corn-y sort of congee (rice porridge). Seeing as I love congee and I love corn, it would only be logical that I would love grits too. Chang’s shrimp and grits photo is amazing: the grits look creamy like a super thick soup.

Making grits is a lot like making risotto; there’s a lot of stirring involved. Unlike risotto, grits are added to the liquid at the beginning. I felt like there wasn’t enough liquid in the grits, but I figured I should follow the recipe the first time around. Instead of using just water to cook the grits, the recipe calls for ramen broth, which I found made my grits quite a lot darker than the light golden brown colour I was expecting.

Chang recommends you soak your girls overnight, which I didn’t do, but I should have. Soaked grits cook in about 10 minutes, but un-soaked take 20-25. My grits ended up much too thick. Mixed with a slow-poached egg, crispy bacon and shrimp, the grits we tasty, but I think I have to perfect them before I can really love the taste. Mike, on the other hand, devoured two bowls.

I might not have loved the shrimp and grits, but I’m willing to bet that it’s partially due to my lack of grit cooking skills. Still, I love the idea of this dish: taking something so iconically Southern and tweaking it until it’s your own.

Note: If you’ve never made grits before, don’t make the same mistake that I did: make them in a non-stick pot. If you don’t and you end up with a burnt corn crust on the bottom of your pot, just soak it with some dish washer detergent and leave over night. The next day, the corn crust will lift right off in one convenient piece.

20 Comments add yours

  1. Grits definitely take some finessing – or just getting used to. I’ve posted about grits a couple of times. I love them, but that’s probably due to my southern heritage. I usually cook mine in a mixture of milk & water, have never tried ramen broth.

    The recipe sounds great. I really like the combination of shrimp, grits, and egg.

    I’m going to have to give grits another go, soaking them first. I really wish I could have gotten my hands on some Anson Mills grits, hopefully the next time I give the recipe a try I’ll have some.

    steph on April 11th, 2010 at 10:39 pm
  2. I’m not southern but the only brand I have had is Alber’s quick grits. Its cheap and its found in most grocery stores. It is made from white corn so it isnt yellow at all. I find the recipe on the box is way off for both grits to water ratio and the time needed to cook. When making grits I always like to error on the side of being too watery because I can always cook off the extra liquid if need be. I also cook my grits way longer than the box says too to make them creamy and less “gritty” :D. Awesome blog!

    I probably should have just added some extra liquid while I was cooking. Can you do that or is that a grit cooking no-no?

    I do it. I keep adjusting until the grits are the cooked how I want (soft) and it’s the right consistency. It is really hard to judge the correct grit to liquid ratio. Even the directions on the box cant do it correctly! It always amazes me how a little amount of grits can swell up so much liquid.

    Thanks for letting me know you can just keep adding the liquid!

    steph on April 13th, 2010 at 9:16 am
    ferlin on April 12th, 2010 at 10:46 am
    steph on April 12th, 2010 at 10:39 am
  3. If i had to pick a dish from the book I’ve most wanted to make, this is it. I only had grits once in Brooklyn, but I make polenta regularly and I think they’re pretty similar. I have ramen broth in the freezer and every weekend I say this is the one I’ll make shrimp and grits, and then it never happens.

    Maybe try more liquid next time as well, when I make polenta I always use more liquid than the packet intructions for a more velvety texture.

    I’m definitely going to give it another try with more liquid!

    steph on April 14th, 2010 at 9:37 am
  4. Thanks for letting me know you can just keep adding the liquid!

    Hahaha, I didn’t know it either, before. It’s good to know, because it seems like grits can absorb quite a bit!

    steph on April 21st, 2010 at 12:13 pm
  5. I made this recipe from the book and needed to use TONS more liquid than the recipe AND the back of the bag (Anson Mills) said. I even soaked them overnight! I liked the flavor a lot but even after doubling the amount of liquid called for, it was still much more dry than I would have preferred and what it looked like in the book. I will have to try more liquid next time :) Flavor wise though, I loved this dish!

    The flavours were amazing together, especially the slow-poached egg! Everyone’s been saying to add morel liquid, so I guess grits soak need a lot!

    steph on May 4th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  6. A 3 to 1 ratio of liquid to grits works well. I’m not sure why they call to soak them in the recipe. It seems superfluous. However, it is important to stir them constantly and to cook at a very low heat. Towards the end of the cooking time add a tablespoon of butter (or more!), and whip it in (as well as a nice handful of shredded sharp cheddar and a finely chopped chili! if you’re inclined to deviate at all.) And they should never take more than 5-10 minutes. I’ve never experienced grits taking 25 minutes to cook. Not saying I know more about it than Chang–I’m just saying. . .

    Thanks for the tip! I should really try to do grits again, especially since they only take 5-10 minutes!

    steph on June 3rd, 2010 at 9:00 am
  7. Mmmmm….I just got the Momofuku book and this was the 2nd recipe I tried (ramen was the first). So tasty! I used 4 cups of ramen broth and left the 2 cups of water that I had soaked the grits in…so 6 cups of liquid total. The grits turned out great and no sticking to the pot. Just keep the heat on low once you add the grits to the boiling broth.

    Thanks for the tip! I really have to make these again after I make some more ramen broth!

    steph on June 7th, 2010 at 2:38 pm
  8. Tricia’s got it right. No soaking involved. It’s more like cooking oatmeal than risotto–you boil the liquid (cream, broth, milk, water, ramen broth) along with any salt you’ll use. You whisk in the grits carefully and quickly, and then immediately turn the heat to low. Cover and every few minutes whisk the grits. Once they’re done, let them sit for 5 minutes or so–for some reason it releases them from the bottom of the pot if any have stuck there. Stir in your add-ins (cheese, roasted chiles, etc.) and then serve hot from the pot. Or cool on a sheet as you would polenta and serve like polenta squares. You can broil the grits squares under the broiler with a tiny bit of butter or parm on top to make them hot and crispy. Yum.

  9. You can cook grits like this and then chill overnight in your fridge in a greased loaf pan. The next morning un-mold,slice about 1/3 inch thick, dredge in flower (keeps it from spattering hot oil on you) and brown in a half inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Serve with butter and honey or maple syrup with a side of sausage or bacon. Good old southern breakfast.

    Charlie Sommers on September 7, 2010 at 10:53 am
  10. Plan to make this as it sounds great. Of course, being a southerner I love grits and then all things Asian.

    I am totally sold on stone ground grits and they DO take at least 25 minutes to cook and usually a ratio of at least 4 cups cups liquid to 1 cup of grits. I recently discovered that the most perfect way to cook the stone ground grits is in my All Clad, non stick Slow Cooker (about the only the thing I use it for). I bring the grits and liquid to a simmer on the stove and then set at low for two hours. I saw it on TV and then searched several sites. Works perfectly and no clean up. by the way Trader Joe’s has recently started selling stone ground grits, just bought some but haven’t tried.

    Anyway, I am making my traditional Shrimp and Grits this Friday night and think the egg would be a good addition as well. Thoughts?

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