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.