I used grits labeled “organic stone-ground corn grits, medium grind”. You can choose white or yellow grits, medium or coarse grind, as you prefer. Adjust the cooking time as needed. Realistically, using a grain labeled “polenta” will work here as well. As written, the recipe is dairy-free, but I can assure you the grits will taste delicious with a nub of butter and a cup of grated cheddar cheese stirred in at the end. Pass hot sauce at the table.
- 6 cups water, plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 cups medium or coarsely ground corn grits
- 2 teaspoons salt (divided)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
- 1 fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
- 1 bunch green onions, whites and green tops chopped and reserved separately
- 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. (If you have one that’s nonstick, use it. You’ll thank me later.) Whisk in the grits and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Reduce the heat and simmer the grits, partially covered, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking. Cook until the grits are thick and just tender, about 40 minutes for medium ground grits or longer for coarse grits. (Whisk in additional water if the grits get too thick. They should remain pourable.) Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the thyme.
- In a large frying pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve it in a bowl. Add the jalapeno, green bell pepper, and white portion of the green onions to the pan. Cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the bacon. Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp (if there are too many to spread in a single layer, cook in two batches), black pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are almost done, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until the shrimp are just done, about 1 minute more. Stir in the lemon juice, reserved bacon and vegetables, and the tomatoes. Remove from the heat.
- For serving, scoop some grits onto each of four plates or shallow bowls. Mound the shrimp on top of the grits and sprinkle the basil and green portion of the green onions over the top.