I love shrimp and grits and in my travels around the South I have enjoyed more than my fair share of some fine versions of this recipe. Unfortunately shrimp and grits dishes are nearly always loaded with salt and fat. Between the ham or bacon (or ham and bacon), heavy cream, and butter I would not call this dish particularly heart healthy. However if you think about it the main ingredients are not all that bad.
Shrimp – Surprisingly, ounce for ounce, shrimp are packed full of low-fat, low calorie protein, they are a good source of selenium, vitamins D and B12 and they actually provide more good cholesterol than bad! Note: If you are using frozen shrimp always buy shrimp that does not contain sodium triphosphate.
Grits – Grits are a very good source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and iron.
Cheese – Cheese is one of the best sources of calcium in the world and it’s rich in phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and vitamin A. This recipe contains cheddar cheese; did you know that aged cheeses like cheddar are actually good for people that are lactose intolerant? This is because aged cheeses contain very low levels of lactose and can be an important source of calcium for people that suffer from lactose intolerance.
My point is, while I don’t want to turn my blog into a “diet” or “nutrition” blog, I believe you can eat smart without having to sacrifice flavor and enjoyment. In this recipe I still use a little fat but every single ingredient brings health benefits to the table, the fat that it does contain is good fat, and your taste buds will still have a little fun!
Shrimp and Grits
Notes: There is no extra salt added to the recipe because the extra sharp cheddar and the blackening seasonings add enough salt for my taste. The Chipotle Tabasco brings a nice smokiness and the granulated garlic just seems to round out the flavor. If you prefer a “clean eating” style meal, feel free to use low fat cheddar cheese. I like to serve these with fresh spinach sautéed with chopped shallots and plenty of fresh ground pepper.
2 ½ Cups – Homemade chicken stock (or low-sodium canned broth)
¾ Cups – Quick cooking grits
¾ Cups – Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp – Plain nonfat yogurt
¼ Tsp – Granulated garlic
½ to 1 Tsp – Chipotle Tabasco sauce, depending on your taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 Lb – Large shrimp (About 20), peeled, deveined, and patted dry
1 Bunch – Green onions, sliced on the bias (at an angle) in half inch slices
1 Clove – Garlc, peeled & minced
3/4 Tsp – Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic
1 Tbsp – Olive oil
Turn one burner on high and another on low. On the first burner bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large sauce pot with a tight fitting lid. Slowly whisk in the grits, chipotle Tabasco sauce, granulated garlic, and ground black pepper. Move the sauce pan to the burner that is set to low, whisk once more and cover. Stir occasionally and cook 7 or 8 minutes until the grits are thickened.
Toss the shrimp with the Blackening Seasonings.
Place a large sauté pan on the first burner (still on high) adding the olive oil as the pan gets hot. Stir in the garlic and keep stirring until you smell the garlic, about 30 seconds. Stir in the shrimp and cook without moving for the first minute. Shake the pan to loosen the shrimp and cook one minute more without moving. Add the green onions and toss (or stir) with the shrimp, remove the pan from the heat and set aside. (The shrimp will continue cooking with the pan off of the heat.)
When the grits have thickened remove the sauce pan from the heat and fold in the yogurt and the cheese. Continue folding until the cheese has thoroughly melted and blended with the grits. Serve 4 to 6 shrimp per serving over a generous mound of grits.