Saturday, August 31, 2013

Shrimp and Grits with Burst Tomatoes

I need to talk about what went down in my kitchen last night. This can't wait.

I've had this opened bag of corn meal chilling out in my cabinet after a corn bread failure for weeks and weeks. I didn't know what to do with it so I just let it sit there.

In a meal brainstorming session I started thinking about Shrimp and Grits. I've never made them before, and I don't think I've ever actually eaten this dish. But, since these are two things I really enjoy, I knew I would like them together.

This is a disclaimer about me not being a shrimp and grits professional. The following recipe is a fun twist on a classic, comforting dish.

Shrimp and Grits with Burst Tomatoes is the most delicious meal I've had in a while--that's a huge statement but I'm sticking to it. I was pretty impressed that it came out of my own kitchen!

Creamy, cheesy grits are loaded into a big serving bowl then topped with spicy crumbled sausage, tender juicy shrimp and boatloads of fresh herbs.

And lets not forget the burst tomatoes. I absolutely love the addition of these tomatoes that have been cooked down with onions in a bit of olive oil. Their flavor just sings.

I'm just going to be honest. I ate 2 GIANT bowls of this while parked on the couch watching hours of Say Yes to the Dress. It felt right. And I think you should do the same. Eating these shrimp and grits is like wrapping yourself in a warm fuzzy blanket. Comfort food bliss.

Here's what you need for Shrimp and Grits with Burst Tomatoes* (Print Recipe!)

4 cups water
1 cup yellow cornmeal (or polenta, or grits)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 links spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, sliced thin (white and light green parts only)
Plenty of salt and pepper

Here's what you do

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the cornmeal and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the grits have thickened and most of the water is absorbed. Stir with a fork, then add the butter, cheese, and some salt and pepper. Cover and remove from heat.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 4 minutes until translucent. Add the tomatoes and cover. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes (you will hear the tomatoes start to pop and burst...this is excellent!), stirring occasionally. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Cook and brown the sausage, crumbling into small pieces. Add the shrimp and cook about 2 minutes on each side until pink. Add in the lemon juice and all of the fresh herbs. Cook 3 minutes more. Return the tomatoes and onions to the pan and stir to combine.

To serve, ladle a generous spoonful of the cheesy grits into a serving bowl. Top with a helping of the shrimp, sausage, tomato mixture. Garnish with additional herbs. Serve 4 for dinner or 6 for lunch.

*Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

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