I grew up in Southwest Louisiana and have never been able to get enough of the region's cuisine. I’ve carried my love of seafood, bold flavors, and spice with me since leaving the Deep South nearly two decades ago. When spring emerges, I feel nostalgic -- ready for shorts, seafood, and summertime when the living is easy. —em-i-lis
Test Kitchen Notes
If you’re looking for a can’t-fail shrimp and grits recipe that will impress your big-armed aunt, a gluten-free Pilates instructor, and Sam Sifton, this is it. It is an easy comfort food dish that flaunts textural contrast and versatile heat, as well as a slightly bitter note thanks to the lemon zest. The whey is not essential, but it definitely improves the dish. You’ll have more than enough if you make a batch of fresh ricotta -- and because making ricotta is cheap, quick, and easy, you should do it. —Jessica Taft
whey (leftover from making fresh ricotta) or milk
1 1/2 cups
grits (not instant)
Veggie Sauté and Shrimp
ear of corn, shucked, kernels cut off
scallions (about 1 bunch), chopped
green garlic (about 3 bulbs), white and light green parts chopped
shrimp, peeled and deveined
Zest of 1 lemon, divided in half
Salt and pepper, to taste
garlic chives, chopped (or 2 small garlic cloves, chopped, if you can't find any)
Lemon wedges for serving
In a skillet, brown 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the corn, 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, combine shrimp, a sprinkle of salt, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 of the lemon zest. Set aside.
In a 4-quart pot, combine the whey, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the grits, and whisk continuously until cooked. Follow instructions on the package for cooking time.
Set the skillet you used for the vegetables over high heat and add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Once it starts to brown, add in the shrimp and the sherry. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, flipping once, until shrimp are orange and just cooked through.
Stir 3/4 of the vegetable mixture into the grits, then pour the whole thing into a serving bowl. Top with the rest of the vegetable mixture. Pour the cooked shrimp and their juices over the grits and vegetables, then sprinkle with the rest of the lemon zest and the chopped garlic chives. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
Serve with lemon wedges alongside!