Southern Twang

When I was about 12 years old, my family and I took a road trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I have vivid memories of being crammed in the back seat of our 1986 Volvo, driving at breakneck speed across I-80 from Chicago due east, making random stops along the way. For example:
Had to check out all the tiny spoons with state names on them, and tiny bells with state names on them, and magnets with... yeah, state names on them. Road trips and vacations were some of the only memories I have of sugar cereal, bags of chips, soda, and other random junk food. My most vivid memory of that trip though, besides the gorgeous beach and totally beach-themed condo we rented, was of the Calabash Seafood Buffet. (Food memory, go figure.) The Calabash Seafood Buffet was a cavalcade of, seriously. There was a multitude of buffet-style tables each piled high with various kinds of seafood. At the time, I was blinded by the piles of fried food which, since it was vacation, I could have on my plate! The clam strips, the fried fish, the hush puppies... Ok, I'll stop drooling and get to the recipe. If only I had opened my eyes a bit at age 12, maybe I would've seen and discovered the glory that is shrimp and grits. After seeing Bobby Flay have a shrimp and grits Throwdown, I knew I had to make it for myself. I honestly had no idea what I was doing, but I combined a few recipes (as is my norm) and came up with a bowl of deliciousness!
shrimp and grits
Shrimp and Grits, Chicago Style Ingredients * 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp, raw * 1 cup traditional (not quick) grits * 4 cups water * 1 Tbsp. butter, divided * 2 Tbsp. olive oil * 2 cloves garlic, minced * 1/4 c. flour * 1 can diced tomatoes, drained * 2 Tbsp. (or more) Cajun seasoning * juice of 2 lemons * 1/2 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese * Salt & Pepper to taste Directions Boil the water in a saucepan, and when boiling, stir in the grits. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in half the butter and the cheese, and set aside. Heat the remaining butter, olive oil, and garlic in a frying pan (not non-stick!). When hot and the garlic is sizzling, add the flour and stir well until it becomes a paste. Cook this mixture until a light brown. (This process is also called making a "peanut butter roux" and can take up to 30 minutes, but mine only took 15 because it was such a small amount.) Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the shrimp, then lower the heat to a simmer. Add the lemon juice, seasoning, salt and pepper and simmer until the shrimp are no longer pink. Serve over a heaping portion of the cheesy grits.
shrimp and grits
There are very rare meals where I'm sitting and eating, and catch myself "mmm"-ing and scraping the bowl for every last morsel. This. Was. Amazing! I've been a fan of grits for years. I've always loved shrimp. WHY did it take me so long to try this combo?! What will I try next?! Also tonight, because well, Heidi was talking to me at work today about how much she loves meringues, I decided to give them a shot! I honestly don't remember where I got the recipe, but I know they're small, cute, and full of chocolate chips!
I'm off to enjoy some sprinkled treats... have a great night!  
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18 Responses to Southern Twang

  1. Those meringues are so adorable! I love rainbow sprinkles. 🙂 Can you believe I have never had grits? I am sure I am missing out.
    .-= Jessica @ How Sweet It Is´s last blog ..Crab Avocado Quesadillas. =-.

  2. Lauren says:

    I have been to Myrtle Beach many a times with my family. Such good memories here but the most lasting one was always stopping at South of The Border each time! Never failed! 🙂
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Take Me Out to The Ball Game =-.

  3. Ahhhh, shrimp and grits– a staple when I went to college in Charleston!! Yours look awesome!
    .-= Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg´s last blog ..No Queso-Dilla =-.

  4. amanda says:

    Mmmmm shrimp and grits yummy! The first time I ever had grits was when I was in 18 for the first time in the army. I was in love with them and put tons of butter and sugar on them. Yummy! I however have never had shrimp and grits together and have heard a lot of talk about this dish among a few other bloggers later. I think I will to need to head down South ASAP, or at least attempt this dish myself. lol
    .-= amanda´s last blog ..Yogurt Craze! =-.

  5. I love the endless variety of shrimp and grits recipes! This one looks really good!
    .-= Barefoot Belle´s last blog ..Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!…and Oatmeal Toffee Cookies =-.

  6. I really like grits…but have never made it myself! Good job!
    .-= Ally@Sweet & Savory´s last blog ..Baptism and LOTS of Food =-.

  7. I’ve never had shrimp and grits, but boy, does it look GOOD! I actually haven’t eaten grits very much in my life. 🙁 The few times that I did have them, they were delicious. Is there any difference between grits and polenta? I was actually thinking of making Bob’s Red Mill Polenta (grits) with goat cheese today, I might have to rethink this shrimp concept. 🙂

    .-= Jenn (´s last blog ..Grillz =-.

  8. Melissa says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..LAZY SUNDAY. You heard me –> *LAZY* =-.

  9. Christina says:

    I have never tried or made shrimp and grits!!! I need to – it looks DEElicious!!!!

    Also have never made meringues. Although I did make cupcakes tonight, a la Mara. hehe And I even put rainbow sprinkles on them too!
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Strawberry Sour Cream Loaf =-.

  10. Lin says:!!! it holds so many good memories for me! MB was THE place to go during beachweek in college. have u been to broadway at the beach?

  11. Shrimp and grits…yes please! This Texas girl loves them! 🙂

  12. kate says:

    Shrimp & grits? Yes please! I love thats its Chicago style 🙂

  13. Katie says:

    I LOVE shrimp and grits! One of my friends manages a Whole Foods in the south, and makes the BEST of it!

    Your meringues are so pretty. My grandma makes them from time to time, but she’s never used sprinkles!

  14. Spiceaholic says:

    I’ve only lived in the South for 5 years, but shrimp and grits is my favorite way to eat grits! This looks excellent!

    Love the meringues!
    .-= Spiceaholic´s last blog ..An eggs-ellent start =-.

  15. Marianne says:

    Grits have always seemed like this super foreign thing to this Great White Northerner. It was only recently that I found out they were cornmeal, and not something…well, gross. LOL. Can you use regular cornmeal to make them? Which…wouldn’t it just be the same thing as polenta? I’m just asking. Because I like the idea of shrimp & grits 🙂
    .-= Marianne´s last blog ..Media Muffin Contest Recap =-.

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