Shrimp and Creamy Corn Grits
September 4, 2020 by Nicole Collins
You guys ever think you really hate something only to find out later that you absolutely love it?
For me, grits falls on that list.
I used to think grits were disgusting. But, that was only because my one and only encounter with grits was not a good one.
The very first time I ever had grits was in a restaurant in New Orleans. And the were soooo gross. They were gloopy and flavorless and a huge let down. So, I just assumed that since I was in the south and the south knows their grits, that I just didn’t like grits. And, I accepted that. I’ll try a lot of foods, but if I don’t like it, I don’t like it. The end. It never even crossed my mind that they were just bad grits.
From that moment on, grits = ewww. I never, ever gave them a second thought.
The next time I touched grits again was 15 years later when I decided to try to make some myself. And, I have NO IDEA why I decided to give them another shot. Even more so, I had no idea how to prepare grits. None. Nada. I only knew what internet searches and food network taught me. So, I went for it. And, they were not bad.
Fast forward to present day. Picture it…quarantine, 2020. I’m looking for something different to eat for breakfast, but I also don’t feel like spending a ton of effort making something. I’m rifling through my pantry and find a mostly full container of quick cooking grits. I do a little extra research, revise my original liquid measurements for grits making, said a quick prayer, and I haven’t turned back since.
I’m not sure if I’m doing grits the Southerner approved way. But, I’m definitely doing grits The Yummy Muffin approved way these days. Because now, I’m obsessed.
So in the spirit of my latest obsession, today we’re making Shrimp and Creamy Corn Grits!
I did something a little different with my grits for this one, and this might just be my favorite batch that I’ve made yet. And, I’m a full on grits lover now.
To start, we need some water, milk, a little garlic powder, and some quick cooking grits. I really like the quick cooking grits, because they only take 5 or 6 minutes to set up after your liquids come to a boil. So, we’re going to let the grits do their thing, making sure to whisk them often. Then when they come off the heat, we’re going to add just a little bit of freshly shredded parmesan cheese along with our special creamy corn mix.
I thought about using canned cream corn for this recipe. And, I’m sure that would work just fine. But, I wanted to have a little more control over the ingredients that I was putting into these grits, so this mock creamed corn situation starts with fresh corn right off the cob.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you. What we’re doing with the corn is not the most pleasing thing to look at. We’re going to throw half of our corn into a blender along with some heavy cream, melted butter, and a little salt. Give it a whirl until the corn is broken down but still has some texture to it. Then, stir in the remaining whole kernels of corn. Once we have this corn puree together, we’re going to whisk it right into the hot grits along side the cheese until everything is creamy and dreamy.
For the shrimp, I had my maiden voyage in my new Ninja Foodi grill. I’m really loving this thing already! It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and had my shrimpies ready to eat in about 4-5 mins time. If you don’t have a Foodi grill, you can absolutely roast these shrimp in the oven while your grits are going. You won’t lose any flavor there. Especially since our shrimp are seasoned with a really simple blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Old Bay.
Once our shrimp and grits are cooked, it’s time to assemble our bowl. Pour the grits into a big ol’ bowl. Plop the shrimp right on top. Then, garnish the plate with some crispy, crumbly bacon and some freshly sliced green onion. You can also keep a couple corn kernels aside too to make the presentation even prettier.
This is such a comforting bowl of food. The grits have that pop of fresh corn kernels that is kind of unexpected. The shrimp is simple but full of flavor. The bacon add that crunchy but salty component. And, the scallions are this nice twinkle of color to bring everything together. And bonus, sometimes cheesy grits can get kind of thick as the cheese starts to cool and solidify again, but the creamy corn that we add to these grits keeps them nice and smooth the whole time.
THEY’RE SOOO GOOD!
I really don’t remember why I decided to give grits another chance, but by am I glad that I did. Because, this bowl of love is going down in the G.O.A.T. category.
I hope you enjoy! And, let’s eat!
Shrimp and Creamy Corn Grits
Serves: 4 Print
For the Shrimp:
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed, if frozen)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
For the Creamy Corn Grits:
2 cups water
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup quick cooking grits
¼ cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
4 ears corn, cooked and kernels removed (or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup heavy cream
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
pepper, to taste
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, sliced (green parts only)
Make the Shrimp: Pat the shrimp as dry as possible with a paper towel. Add shrimp, oil, Old Bay, garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper to a mixing bowl. Toss to completely coat the shrimp. Preheat the Ninja Foodi Grill to Max. Add the shrimp in an even layer on the grill insert, and grill for 3-5 minutes until the shrimp are opaque and completely cooked through. Alternately, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add shrimp in an even layer, and roast for 8-10 mins until the shrimp are opaque and completely cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the Creamy Corn: Add half of the corn kernels to a small food processor or blender. Add melted butter, heavy cream, and ½ tsp salt. Pulse a couple times until combined and the corn has broken down but still has some texture. Add in the remaining corn kernels, and stir to combine. Set aside.
Make the Grits: Bring water, milk, and garlic powder to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Slowly add grits while whisking. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed, whisking every 1-2 minutes. Remove grits from heat. Add creamy corn mix, cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until cheese is melted and the creamy corn mix is fully combined. Taste for seasoning.
To serve, spoon grits into 4 bowls. Top with shrimp, crumbled bacon, and green onions. Serve immediately.
*The Ninja Foodi Grill is my new favorite toy. Because it cooks at such a high heat, we need to use an oil for the shrimp with a high smoke point. Grapeseed oil is great because it has a high smoke point but also has some fruity notes like an olive oil would. If you're using the grill, you could also substitute canola oil. If you're roasting the shrimp in the oven, you can use olive oil.
*Take note that there are different kinds of grits: stone ground, instant, quick cooking, etc. They all have different cook times. This recipe uses quick cooking.
*I recommend shredding the parmesan yourself from a wedge. It melts much better than the pre-bagged stuff.
*My favorite way to cook corn on the cob is to roast it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the corn in their husks on a baking tray. Roast for 30 mins. When the corn has cooled enough to touch, remove the husks from the corn.
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