Breakfast Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp & grits
Shrimp & grits / Photo by Sang An

Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook (W. W. Norton, 2006), by Matt and Ted Lee

Natives of Charleston, South Carolina, brothers Matt and Ted Lee learned to cook in their childhood home at 83 East Bay Street, where this recipe gets its name. Tart tomatillos provide welcome acidity to this deeply flavorful dish.

Four Easy Ways to Make Breakfast for Dinner
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds extra-large, shell-on shrimp (26–30/pound), peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 1½ cups stone-ground grits
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • Salt
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked (or green tomatoes)
  • 4 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • Black pepper, to taste
Directions

Bring shrimp shells and 3 cups lightly salted water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1½ cups, about 20 minutes. Strain broth, and set aside. Add water or discard broth to ensure exact measure.

Combine grits, milk, 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until grits thicken, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, stirring often, until grits are fluffy and creamy, about 30 minutes. Add water if grits become too stiff.

While grits cook, heat broiler and place tomatillos in roasting pan or ovenproof skillet. Broil, turning occasionally, until blackened all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to blender and purée. Pass purée through coarse strainer or food mill, and set aside.

Place bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until bacon begins to brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Add jalapeño, green pepper, onion and cayenne. Cook until vegetables soften, about 2 minutes.

Whisk 2 tablespoons shrimp broth with flour to create smooth paste. Add remaining broth to skillet, and reduce heat to medium. After 5 minutes, whisk in flour paste, followed by tomatillo purée. Cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens to gravy consistency, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook just until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Divide grits among 4 plates. Ladle shrimp and gravy on top. Serves 4.

Pair It

Jean-Luc and Paul Aegerter 2016 Vieilles Vignes (Chablis). “The lemony quality of a good Chablis, or any clean, steel-aged Chardonnay, pairs well with shrimp and the note of smoky bacon in the dish,” write the Lee brothers.

This one, in addition to its orange zest notes, conveys a sense of honey that gives it body to match with the rich meal. A touch of minerality complements the shrimp, while bright acidity cleanses the palate between bacon-y bites.

Published on December 15, 2018
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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