Shrimp and grits is a Low Country masterpiece. But because my sister does not eat pork and my dad has to limit his bacon, traditional shrimp and grits is off the menu. That doesn't mean that they settle for bland, and they both love shrimp. So I eliminated the bacon, bumped up the garlic and herbs, and opted for a tangy lemon-butter sauce. I also added crispy shallots and serve garlic roasted tomatoes on the side.
1 cup stone ground grits, white or yellow
4 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1 1/2 cups grape or San Marzano-style tomatoes
2 large cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound raw wild caught large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
For the grits:
Add water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of sea salt, then stir in the grits. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until all of the water is absorbed, for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in one tablespoon of butter, the sour cream, and the cheese. While the grits are cooking, prepare the tomatoes and the shrimp.
For the tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wash and dry the tomatoes, then put in a small casserole dish or glass pie pan with 2 teaspoons of the garlic, a pinch of sea salt, and a tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss together, then place in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when the tomatoes look shiny and have slightly wilted. Set aside.
For the shrimp:
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauce pan or skillet over medium high heat.
Add the shallots to the pan and stir gently with a wooden spoon until slightly brown and frizzled. Remove the shallots from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Melt the remaining butter in the pan and add the shrimp in a single layer, cooking until nice and pink on each side. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the lemon juice, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper, and parsley. Stir and saute gently for 2-3 minutes.
Time to eat!
Spoon some grits onto a plate and top with some of the shrimp, sauce, and frizzled shallots. Serve with the tomatoes and top with more fresh chopped parsley, if you like.