Going South (of the Mason Dixon Border)

I’m not from the south (obviously), but that doesn’t stop me from loving southern cuisine. I’ve actually never cooked for someone from the south either, so I can’t promise on authenticity. BUT, I’ve made this dish several times, each time making it a little spicier and each time I can’t STAND how good it is.

Shrimp & Grits with Cornbread Fried Tomatoes

Southern meal

This dish is incredibly simple and holds up well as leftovers, or transformed as something different (see tomorrow’s post methinks!) You can change the spice, change the cheese, change how you cook the shrimp, all of these will alter the dish and make it just how you like it. (I love being able to personalize a recipe!)

I’m sure a southerner would criticize my grits…I’ve heard it’s a thing down there, but, give a northern girl some credit for trying right? 🙂

Anyway, this dish is SO child friendly, I mean, put cheese in it and most kids WILL eat it.

This is what we did;

First we worked on the tomatoes. I sliced them up in thick pieces and had Zara use a paper towel to pat them dry. Then she salt and peppered them on one side only. While she did this I put some cornmeal in one bowl, and beat 2 eggs in another bowl. I dipped each tomato slice into the egg mixture and then in the cornmeal mixture and set aside until all were complete. I then preheated the oven to 250 F and prepared a parchment papered cookie sheet and set aside. I then added 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to a saute pan, and heated on high until the oil was bubbling. I then added 3 tomatoes at a time, cooking for 90 seconds on each side. I then removed and placed on the parchment paper. When all tomatoes are complete, pop in the oven to warm. Reserve saute pan with oil.

I use quick grits (as I really don’t know if I have patience to make real grits…don’t know…never tried). I typically make enough for 4 servings, which means you use 3/4 cups of grits and 3 cups of water. I have Z dump everything in and let it come to a rapid boil. Add 1 tea salt and reduce heat. Remember to stir often to avoid sticking! When the grits start to get thick (about 5 minutes), turn off and remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of grated cheese (I used Parmesan today, which I’ve never done before, I normally do a cheddar, jalapeno mix). I also normally add 1 tbsp of butter for the creaminess, but instead, this time, I added 1 tbsp of cream cheese. Stir. add a hit of hot sauce if you like it hot (and I do) and cover.

While making grits, make shrimp. I typically purchase a bag of frozen, deveined, peeled shrimp to keep in the freezer so I have them on hand for quick and easy meals. Use the oil from the tomatoes and squeeze 1 whole lemon and give it a hit of hot sauce. Cook until shrimp are just pink, remove from heat and cover. I usually serve 3 large shrimp per person. The pink pops out of the beautiful creamy white grits!

To serve, I use a shallow large bowl and spoon grits into the center and place 3 large shrimp around grits. Then add some fresh spinach or arugula (which has a nice crunch and adds a beautiful fresh green into your dish when you mix it all together (which is how I like to eat it!) on one side of the plate and place two tomatoes on top of the greens. If you’re my husband, you would add more hot sauce and maybe some pepper. This dish HAS NO ADDED SALT. With the cheese, you really don’t need salt, and I urge you to try it, at least once, without salt.

That’s it, it takes 20 minutes tops to make this entire dish. It is SO amazing! My child eats the grits and tomatoes (sans hot sauce of course), she shies away from the shrimp at this point…

southern bite

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