A Lowcountry staple, shrimp and grits is as welcome on the breakfast counter as it is on the dinner table. What originally came about as the marriage of two Lowcountry luxuries — Southern dent corn and fresh shrimp during the season — currently has as many variations as the palate can create. In its purest form, however, the most important ingredients will always be just the shrimp and grits. Grits should taste like corn. If you haven’t yet had true, fresh, ground grits, sourcing from Anson Mills here in Columbia (found at Soda City every Saturday) is a great way to experience this dish in its antebellum form. Oh, and buy fresh shrimp.
Lowcountry Shrimp and Antebellum Yellow Grits
Cooking time: ~1 hr.
1 pound fresh South Carolina shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces salted butter
1 ounce country ham, diced
1/2 each of red and yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
You will need a heavy -bottomed sauce pot and a cast iron skillet.
To begin, follow the link for cooking instructions of Anson Mills Antebellum Grits found at www.ansonmills.com/recipes/489.
As grits approach their desired tenderness, per your cooking instructions, prepare the shrimp. Heat cast iron skillet on medium heat, adding the country ham and butter. When butter has melted, increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. After one minute, add remaining ingredients, except for green onions, and stir through the shrimp for another 2 to 3 minutes. Check heat as to not brown garlic and shrimp. Soft cooking just long enough to render the ham slightly and cooking the shrimp through will yield a superior product rather than a high heat searing. Remove skillet from heat. Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember the country ham will add salt to the dish as it renders. To serve, spoon grits into desired dish. Ladle shrimp and peppers over grits with plenty of butter from cooking. Finish by sprinkling with the fresh green onions. Serves 4.