Friday, March 16, 2012

Yankee Shrimp and Grits

Current dinner obsession. 

Remember when I told you I had a grits problem?

Well I still do. I have yet to find any grits in the GTA.  You can find Ethiopian beans and South East Asian sodas, but no grits. I should be thankful for the vast array of delicious things I can find, but right now I’m just bitter. Bitter and gritsless.

I needed a fix. Something that would hold me over until I go back down south or find a grocery store in the city that appreciates the beauty of creamy grits with bacon and seafood. 
So I thought to myself, what would simulate the texture of grits, while still being delicious and complimenting the flavour of the shrimpies.

Thought 1 – Creamed corn: Would have been delicious, but I didn’t have corn. Might also have been a texture issue.

Thought 2 – Polenta: Would have been the right consistency, but is too grainy for my liking. And I’ve never been able to get it to turn out quite right. This one would have needed an expert.

Thought 3 – Sweet potatoes: good consistency (if mashed with enough butter), but sweet potatoes might have had too much flavour and sugar content – when paired with shrimp and mushrooms, the potatoes would have stolen the show.

Love new potatoes. I like them with just a little salt. I'm a carb monger. 

So finally I settled on creamy creamy mashed potatoes. The texture was almost perfect (grits are a little bit soupier, but I like this texture better anyway). They didn’t take away from the star attraction(s) and gave the dish the thing that potatoes give everything.. more potatoes. (Hi, my name is Amanda and I love carbs).

This recipe comes straight from the Hominy Grill cookbook, with the exception of the fact that I didn’t use grits:

Yankee Shrimp and Grits – for 2
(Adapted from the Hominy Grill Cookbook)
  • ½ lb shrimp (cleaned, deveined, tails removed)
  • 3 bacon slices (chopped please)
  • 2 good handfuls of mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I did mine in quarters)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 green onions, chopped fine
  • 2 good squirts of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Enough potatoes for two (2 large ones, 4 medium ones or a bunch of little ones.. you know how much you’ll eat, folks).  
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbs of butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup of milk

Get your potatoes ready first by giving them a rough chop (reducing cooking time) and putting them on to boil with the bay leaf in the water (and lots of salt). Take them off when a fork easily pierces one. Drain and put back in the pot with the lid on (off of the stove) and let them steam for a while.

I had a craving for mushrooms this week that NEEDED to be satisfied. Is that weird?

Chop the mushrooms, garlic, and green onions before you deal with the bacon (That way you only have to clean your cutting board once).  Chop your bacon and get it frying over medium heat.
Somewhere during the stuff-frying process, you should mash your potatoes, I did it while the mushrooms were frying to get the timing right. Basically, add the butter while the potatoes are hot and mash with a masher (if you have a potato ricer, even better!). Add milk until they’re a little looser than you would normally like your mashed potatoes (to give you a grits-like experience). Add salt to taste.

Once the bacon is pretty crispy, take it out of the pan and drain most of the fat off. Fry your shrimp until they’re almost cooked (about 2 mins on either side) and take them out to chillax with the bacon.  
Fry the mushrooms and garlic until the ‘shrooms take on a bit of colour, then pop the bacon and shrimp back in. Add the green onions, lemon, hot sauce, salt and pepper and fry for a quick minute.

Serve the fried mixture on top of your potatoes. Garnish with whatever fresh herb you have (I used oregano) and fresh cracked pepper.

I know that this combo might sound weird to some people, but I promise, this was one of the most satisfying meals I have made myself in a long time. Truly enjoyable.  (and just as enjoyable microwaved in my lunch the next day. So key to my life.)

Flower pepper from trader joes - when I run out, I'm going to cry. 

Please please try this recipe and let me know what you think. I want to make sure I’m not the only one that’s in love with this flavour combo.

Happy sunny Friday!

Much love,



  1. Great thinking! I love shrimp too!

  2. It's really hard to get grits here too. In fact a friend sent some and the first lot got confiscated (it's hard to know what you can bring in sometimes) and the second lot got through. We had lots of cheese grits then! :D

  3. Wow your food actually looks really good!