Ring the dinner bell – shrimp n’ grits are served! I’m a fairly new convert to grits (or polenta en Italiano). Thick, creamy and cheese, they play an outstanding supporting role to, well, just about anything you put on top. Shrimp and grits are a Southern staple and here I amped the party up with smoky bacon and a little heat courtesy of red chili flakes. As a bonus, this dish is ready in Yankee time – about 25 minutes start to finish.
Shrimp and Grits with Roasted Tomatoes and Bacon
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock OR water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
- 1/3 cup grated sharp cheese, such as Parmesan or Cheddar
- 1/2 lb. medium to large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 slice applewood smoked bacon, chopped
- Red chili pepper flakes, to taste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes collapse, about 10 to 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Bring stock (or water) and milk to a boil. Add grits in a stream and whisk. Bring back to a gentle boil and cook, whisking occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Cover the grits to keep warm.
- Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Render the bacon in a large skillet over medium-to-low heat until crispy (this may take a while, do not turn the heat up). Remove bacon and drain on paper towel, leaving drippings in pan. In the same pan, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add garlic and saute a few minutes. Add bacon and tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper and red chili to taste.
- To serve, spoon grits into a serving bowl and top with tomato and shrimp mixture.