I think shrimp and grits might be making a comeback as a trendy food. It seemed to be on every menu in Houston last month, I’ve seen quite a few versions on Instagram recently, and two of the magazines that I reviewed over the weekend had recipes for shrimp and grits. It is totally fine with me if shrimp and grits is the new doughnut/macaroon/cupcake. I happen to love grits. And what’s not to love about adding cheese to anything?
Remember way back to January when I first served my little kids shrimp and grits? I thought they would love it and they thought I was serving them the grossest thing ever? Totally different story here. Those kids loved last night’s dinner. Gus is firmly anti-shrimp at this point, but that is ok because this recipe uses chorizo instead of bacon and he was quite happy to eat sausage with his grits. Théa, meanwhile, when told what we were having for dinner exclaimed (truly, exclaimed), “Oh! I love shrimp! And I love grits! Right, Mom?”
So here is the skinny on this particular recipe. Just like the previous recipe, this is perfect for an easy, weeknight meal. While the grits simmer, the chorizo is sautéed on the stove, and the shrimp (seasoned simply with olive oil and salt) are grilled. Grilling the shrimp gives a nice, smoky flavor to the whole dish and it takes no time at all. I really did like the addition of the chorizo. This is something that I would definitely try again as a substitute for bacon in other recipes. Our chorizo did not crumble, which I thought at first was a quality thing, but I chopped it up into tiny pieces and it was quite tasty. In our area, most grocery store butchers make their own chorizo, so be sure to ask your butcher when you are ready to give this recipe a try.
I have traditionally used gouda to make cheese grits and this recipe (probably because of its slightly Mexican spin) called for cojita instead. This was probably an ingredient quality issue, but my cojita did not fully melt and tasted slightly chalky. Chalky like cheap feta. I was not a total fan. I don’t know enough about Mexican cheeses so make a substitute here, so please enlighten me if you can, because otherwise, these grits were delicious. I should point out here that if you are looking closely at my (not very great) photos of last night’s dinner, you will notice that my grits are rather yellow. That’s because they aren’t actually grits (made of hominy, which is white) but polenta (made of yellow corn). Instant grits are all we can get up here in the Northwest sticks so I had to improvise. And PS, polenta is a pretty good substitute for traditional grits. We had one tasty dinner last night
This was still not the perfect shrimp and grits recipe, but we are getting closer. I will for sure be using the grilled shrimp technique and the chorizo instead of bacon again. The next time I make this particular recipe, I might try substituting gouda for the cojita or maybe even a quality feta (good luck finding that around here). Oh, and I never found salsa de arbol, one of the ingredients called for in this recipe, so substituted sriracha. If you have the same problem, go with the sriracha. It was just fine.