Monday, April 9, 2012

Shrimp and Grits

I recently hosted the Bluegrass Country Club women's monthly poker game at my home.  Little did my guests know that I had an ulteriormotive for preparing tapas for dinner.  I saw this as a perfect opportunity to get feedback on some of my dishes and help to determine which recipes I would post next.  Although quite a few of my selected dishes created a buzz, by far the Shrimp and Grits was the winner.
Shrimp and Grits Tapas
Shrimp and Grits

After taking the first bite,  the comments are always the same, "These grits are so cheesy, creamy and buttery." I totally agree with that description, but these grits contain no cheese, no cream and no butter.  The secret to my delicious and creamy grits is milk.
Grits Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grits (not instant)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
In a small saucepan begin warming the milk.  When milk is warm but not yet hot, whisk in the grits and add salt. Grits, like pasta and potatoes, cook by absorbing the liquid in which they are cooked.  The better tasting the liquid, the better tasting your final dish.  That is why it is important to add salt to the liquid before cooking.  Continue stirring grits over medium-low heat until all of the milk is absorbed and the grits are thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in garlic powder.  to add richness to the grits, you may want to add 4 tablespoons of butter (optional).  Cover to keep warm.  
Although now days, every supermarket and most good restaurants have their signature dry rub, I choose to make my own.  I'm not a fan of the spice, cumin, one of the main and overwhelming flavors in most dry rubs.  They say "you either love it, or hate it."  I happen to be of the second group.  Yes, I know what you're thinking...."How can you have a true dry rub without cumin?"...and you're right, so I do add a little, but it's not the primary flavor. 

If you like the flavor of cumin, feel free to use any of the prepared dry rubs.

Dry Rub Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoon Kosher Salt 
  • 4 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoon Season Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoon Black Pepper 
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder 
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin 
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well.  Store in an airtight container.  I save the containers in which I buy spices at the supermarket.  When they are empty, they make perfect shakers for my homemade dry seasonings and rubs. This rub is one of my favorite.  I use it in many of my dishes and always when I grill meat, fish or poultry. 

Shrimp Ingredients:
  • 10 - 12 Peeled and Deveined Shrimp 
  • 2 - 3 Tablespoons Dry Rub
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • Chopped Parsley (optional)
For tapas, rinse the shrimp under cool water.  Cut the shrimp and season well with dry rub. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to keep the butter from burning.  Add the seasoned shrimp and sauté until the shrimp turn pink, less than 1 minute.  Turn the shrimp and repeat until pink, less than 1 minute.  The cooking time will vary depending upon the size of the shrimp.  Remove from heat and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Spoon the warm grits into shallow bowls and top with the shrimp.  Serve with lemon wedges.
In the summer, I grow parsley in my herb garden.  I like the way the chopped parsley adds color, and a little flavor, to this dish. (Yields 6 Tapas / 2 Dinners)

The whole shrimp will take a little longer, about 1 minute per side.

Shrimp and Grits Tapas
Shrimp and Grits

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Shrimp and Grits.  Enjoy!


  1. Mmmmmm! I love Rhonda's Shrimp and Grits. I have enjoyed it several times in her home. It is one of my favorites of her Most Requested Recipes! -- Karen

  2. As one of her Poker Buddy Feedback Group, Shrimp & Grits and the Candy Bacon were my favorites!!! Your house next time again right? :)

  3. On the rub, paprika is added twice. Is that a mistake? Or, should there be a different ingredient instead? Love your blog! Thank you for your help!