Mardi Gras is in full swing down south, and while I live in the midwest, I am a southern girl with vivid childhood memories of chasing parade floats down the streets of Mobile Alabama hoping to catch a moon pie and some peanut butter taffy. So I’m paying homage to this southern tradition and celebrating with a dish that truly symbolizes all that is southern fare- Shrimp and Grits.
There are many variations but my version is based on Bobby’s Dean’s lighter remake of his mom’s recipe. Though I did feel the need to add the butter and cheese back in, mine is still less calories than Paula’s original. Serve with hot, fluffy biscuits and say “hi y’all”.
Shrimp and Grits (inspired by Bobby Dean’s recipe)
For the sauce:
1/4 cup turkey bacon, diced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
16 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite-cut diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup low fat half-and-half
Sauté bacon in a nonstick skill until crisp. Remove and set aside. Add olive oil to the skillet and sauté the onion and green pepper until tender.
Add the shrimp and garlic and cook just until the shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with the wine, then add in the tomatoes, hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce will thicken.
Add the bacon and shrimp back in; add half and half and bring back up to a low simmer.
For the grits:
3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or scallions
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, stir in grits and butter. Lower heat and simmer partially covered, stirring often until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add cheese and stir in until combined. Remove from heat. Serve grits in bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Garnish with scallions or chives and cheddar cheese, if desired.