There is something totally irresistible about the sweet creaminess of grits, the briny taste of shrimp, and a smoky element (bacon, sausage). Last Spring on a road trip across the South, I had grits two or three times a day and couldn't get enough. After my story came out in the Travel section, Patrick Long, chef of The Green Room Restaurant & Bar in Greenville, S.C. (three hours from Charleston) sent me his version. I didn't get to his place. He uses stone ground white grits (we used yellow), which he simmers in milk with a generous dash of hot sauce. You don't have to stir the grits constantly like you do polenta, but don't leave the kitchen. The shrimp are tossed in Old Bay seasoning and sauteed with andouille and tomatoes. Cook the grits in a larger pot than you think you need. They splutter as they thicken. I took the advice of an innkeeper I met in Alabama: Cook grits in much more liquid than you need for much longer. It's the secret to getting them creamy.
3 cups whole milk
2 cups water
Few dashes liquid hot sauce, or more if needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup stone ground white or yellow grits
1. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the grits and when the mixture returns to a boil, turn down the heat. Simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until the grits absorb the liquid.
2. Taste for seasoning and add more hot sauce, if you like.
1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
8 ounces andouille, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup white wine
1 cup clam broth mixed with 1 cup water
4 scallions, chopped
1. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
2. In another bowl, sprinkle the shrimp and sausage with Old Bay, salt, and pepper.
3. In a skillet over high heat, heat the oil. Add the shrimp and andouille. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes or until the shrimp start to turn pink. Remove from the pan.
4. Pour in the wine, clam broth mixture, and tomatoes. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture comes to a boil. Simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
5. Return the shrimp and andouille to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and the shrimp is cooked through. Ladle grits into shallow bowls, add shrimp mixture, and sprinkle with scallions. Sheryl Julian. Adapted from The Green Room Restaurant & Bar
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.