True Grits

This hearty shrimp-and-grits dish is a real helping of Southern comfort
Photograph by Joe Vaughn

For Southerners, eating grits is practically a religion; breakfast without grits is unthinkable. In South Carolina’s Low Country region, a shrimp-and-grits meal has been considered a basic breakfast for coastal fishermen and families for decades. Simply called breakfast shrimp, the dish consisted of a pot of grits with shrimp cooked in a little bacon grease or butter. During the past decade, this preparation has been dressed up and taken out on the town to the fanciest restaurants. No longer just for breakfast, it also appears at brunch, lunch, and dinner. Patrick Coleman, of Beans & Cornbread in Southfield, says this dish is becoming increasingly popular at his restaurant.

Savannah-Style Shrimp & Grits

(Serves 4-6)

2-1/4 cups water
1/2 cup hominy grits
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
12 medium peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces diced andouille sausage
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup provolone cheese

Bring water to a boil. Slowly stir grits into boiling water.  Reduce to medium heat and cover. Cook until water is absorbed and grits are thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in butter until melted and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add diced andouille sausage and sauté mixture 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp/sausage mixture to cooked grits and mix well. Garnish with shredded provolone cheese and serve.