"If there is one dish that makes me want to march down Fifth Avenue waving the American flag, it's shrimp and grits," Bobby Flay writes in Bobby Flay Cooks American.
Though I might trade Flay's Manhattan avenue for one of my Chicago streets—I'd probably pick State Street—I see no reason to disagree with him on the dish. It's definitely something to feel proud about. Though we may argue whether apple pie and hamburgers are more American, we can agree this dish is absolutely delicious—and unique.
Though the dish may have its roots in the South, I am certainly no stranger to grits. My parents even have a copy of my late grandmother's recipe for grits framed and hanging in their kitchen. At first I just didn't know why there needed to be anything else in the bowl. It sounded just a tad heavy. Cheese grits aren't exactly light, and the addition of bacon doesn't help matters. But that's what the shrimp is for. They lighten the whole dish—or at least appear to—making this patriotic dish easy to devour in minutes.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup grits
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, finely grated
- 8 ounces bacon, chopped
- 20 medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup scallion, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Add the butter and olive oil to a saucepan set over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Turn the heat to high and pour in the milk and water. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in the grits. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, dump in the cheese and stir until it is melted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Add the bacon to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook until golden browned and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour out all but 3 tablespoons of the oil.
Set the skillet back over medium-high heat and when nearly smoking, add the shrimp. Cook until pink, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Scoop some of the cheese grits into a bowl and top with the shrimp, chopped bacon, and scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper.