This Southern classic is an impressive and yet easy to master dish that is sure to become a family favorite. The shrimp is sauteed in butter and bacon fat, then served over a bed of spinach and cheese grits. What could be more delicious?
When I moved South, I was not aware that different regions had their own shrimp and grits recipe. So the first time that I made shrimp and grits for guests, I made the spicy, tomato-based dish that I fell in love with while dining in the French Quarter.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that their beloved shrimp and grits dish was vastly different than my spicy New Orleans style shrimp and grits recipe. It was still delicious, but not even close to what they had expected. But really, just how different could it be?
So while visiting family in Alabama, I was able to taste another version of the recipe. One bite and I was hooked!
First, it is a brunch dish there. I mean you can eat this luscious, decadent treat at 11:00 AM….with a bellini or a mimosa! Oh, sign me up!
The Alabama version was not spicy at all. The shrimp were sauteed in a garlicky. Buttery, creamy sauce and served over cheesy grits with just a touch of greens and tomato. I wanted to lick the bowl after I scarfed up all the juicy shrimp and yummy grits. My mouth is watering just writing about it! I am proud to share that this is my very Southern sister-in-law’s favorite dish when she visits. And THAT is a compliment.
TIPS FOR PERFECT ALABAMA SHRIMP AND GRITS:
- Be sure to prepare the grits first. They take a bit of time. Low and slow is the way to go when making really luscious grits.
- Clean your shrimp. I can’t say this too many times. Clean your shrimp! The vein, if left in, will add a sandy, dirty, fishy flavor to the otherwise, briny, sweet, and tender shrimp. Either buy them cleaned or devein them yourself. If you aren’t sure how to clean them, here is a great video that explains it all: https://youtu.be/JorujwRXe4A
- Mince the vegetables for the grits and the shrimp. You want small bits of spinach, shallots, and tomatoes. You don’t want chunks of vegetables to change the texture of the dish.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS SOUTHERN CLASSIC?
- Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup – use this in the microwave and put it in the dishwasher.
- Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons-6 Piece – I love the long, rectangle design. They even fit into small spice jars.
- StarPack Basics Silicone Mixing Spoon – I own a bunch of these – in turquoise, of course.
- Cuisinart FCT193-18 French Classic Tri-Ply Stainless 3-Quart Saucepot with Cover – This pot is one that goes from the stovetop, or the oven, right into the dishwasher.
- HOMWE 3-piece set, Kitchen Cutting Board (3-Piece Set) | BPA-Free, Non-Porous, Dishwasher Safe
- Cuisinart French Classic Tri-Ply Stainless 12-Inch French Skillet with Helper Handle – You’ll feel like a real 5-star chef with this skillet.
- White, LIFVER 1.1 Quart Porcelain Serving Bowls, Set of 4 – These have a beautiful shape; they are a perfect size. These are my favorite bowls!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH ALABAMA SHRIMP AND GRITS:Print
This Southern classic combines briny shrim that is sauteed in butter, bacon fat, garlic, and cream and served over cheesy grits with tomato and spinach. Delicious for brunch or an elegant dinner!
For the grits:
6 slices bacon
8 cups half and half
2 cups quick-cooking grits
14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped finely
1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
For the shrimp:
3 slices bacon, sliced thin horizontally
½ cup butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 pounds large raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined with tail on
1 cup dry white wine (I like Chardonnay)
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish
Grated cheese for garnish
First, start the grits. Dice the bacon into small strips. Saute in a large Dutch oven until crisp and brown.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the diced bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
In the same pot, pour the half and half into the pot. Bring the half and half to a boil over medium-high heat.
Turn the heat to low and stir in the grits. Stir vigorously and let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring often.
Mix in the canned tomatoes, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Stir well and allow to cook another 10 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, while the grits cook, make the shrimp. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
In the same pan, melt the butter into the bacon fat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add in the shrimp and toss to coat with the butter in the pan.
Deglaze with the white wine and bring to a full boil. Whisk in the heavy cream, salt, and pepper, and lemon juice Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer to reduce the sauce to the desired thickness.
When done, serve spooned over the grits. Sprinkle with the reserved crispy bacon, fresh parsley, and grated cheese.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Sautee
- Cuisine: Southern
Keywords: Southern classics, shrimp recipes, grits recipes, brunch recipes, main dish, comfort food