Author Notes: I grew up in SW Louisiana and have never been able to get enough of its food. Spoiled by the seafood, brightened by the bold flavors, unafraid of spice...I've carried that with me since leaving the deep South nearly 2 decades ago. While DC has some Southern elements, it doesn't display them in any obvious fashion. This is fine in cold, wintery months but when spring emerges, I think I feel nostalgiac, ready for shorts, ready for seafood, ready for summertime and the livin's easy.
Spring has come in fits and starts this year. Today brought some sun to my yard, fresh FL corn to the market and a real yen for shrimp and grits to me. I bought some corn, grabbed some gulf shrimp from my freezer, and looked at the last of this past Sunday's scallions, green garlic and garlic chives haul from the farmers market in my fridge. Great combo? Um, yes! - em-i-lis
For the grits
- 3 cups whey (leftover from making fresh ricotta), or milk
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ cup grits
For the veggie sauté and shrimp
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 ear corn, shucked, kernels cut off
- 1 cup green onions/scallions (~1 bunch), chopped
- ½ cups green garlic (~ 3 bulbs), white and light green parts chopped
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- zest of 1 lemon, divided in half
- 1 tablespoon sherry
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons garlic chives, chopped
- lemon wedges for serving
- In a skillet, melt and brown 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. When ready, add corn kernels, green onions and green garlic. Sauté, stirring, for about 3 minutes, just until tender. Pour mixture into a bowl and set aside. Do not rinse out skillet.
- In a small bowl, put shrimp and sprinkle salt, cayenne and 1/2 the lemon zest on top. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a 4-quart pot, put whey, water and salt. Bring to a boil. When boiling, add grits, and whisk pretty continuously until cooked (cook time depends on grit type; quick grits will take just 3-4 minutes, longer grits can take up to 25 minutes, don't use instant).
- In the meantime, grab the skillet you used for the veggies, set it over high heat and throw the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in it. Let melt and start to brown. When ready, add the seasoned shrimp you set aside earlier and the sherry, and cook 3-4 minutes, flipping once, until orange and just cooked through.
- Stir 3/4 of the veggie mixture into the grits. Pour this mixture into a serving bowl and top with the rest of the veggie mixture. Pour the cooked shrimp and their juices over the grits and veggies, sprinkle the rest of the lemon zest and the chopped garlic chives on top and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges alongside!