Southern comfort & Italian spice with shrimp, grits
Shrimp and grits is Southern comfort food, and a perfect meal. Make the shellfish a little hot and a little smoky with jalapeno, pancetta, and Old Bay seasoning and they go well with creamy cheesy grits, a corn porridge similar to polenta. Stoneground grits give the dish a toothsome texture and more depth, though they require more attention and cooking time. Many chefs use either white or yellow Anson Mills (www.ansonmills.com) or Carolina Plantation (www.carolinaplantationrice.com), but try whatever is available at your grocery store, which may be Quaker quick grits or Bob’s Red Mill (called corn grits polenta). If you’re in a hurry, substitute instant grits, which use the same water-to-grain ratio as stoneground (with some variation according to brand, so read package instructions). Though some packages instruct simmering grits for 30 minutes, we prefer an hour, but they don’t need more than an occasional stir.
The next day, a simple tomato sauce with capers, fennel, and crushed red pepper adds spark to the shrimp you set aside. Bake leftover grits until crisp on the outside, hot and cheesy in the middle. Cut it into squares, and top with the shrimp and tomato sauce, for a very Italian take on yesterday’s Southern feast.
Catherine Smart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.