Shrimp ‘n’ Grits
6 slices thick bacon, diced
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped red bell pepper diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Few dashes of Tabasco
1 pound large, or extra-large, fresh shrimp, peeled* and deveined (instructions follow)
12/3 cups milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking (not instant) grits
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or a mixture of shredded cheddar cheese and shredded parmesan cheese), plus additional cheese for garnish
Chopped scallions, for garnish
How to shell (peel) and clean (devein) fresh shrimp
Brown bacon in a large skillet. Stir in butter, pepper, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Sprinkle lightly with Tabasco (only a few dashes). Toss in the shrimp and cook just until shrimp turn pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. Bring the milk and chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan and stir in the grits. Return the grits to a boil; reduce heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cheese(s) to the grits and stir until cheese is melted. Spoon the grits into individual serving bowls and top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with shredded cheese and chopped scallions. Makes 6 servings. *Kitchen Ade note: You may either peel away all of the shrimp’s shell, or leave the tails on.
Whether shrimp is peeled, or not, depends on how the shrimp is going to be used in a particular dish; deveining, on the other hand, is a matter of preference. Mostly, we devein shrimp for aesthetic reasons, but in large shrimp, the black intestinal vein can be gritty and full of sand, so if you’re planning to use large shrimp in your recipe, for optimal enjoyment, remove the vein.
To shell (peel)
Slip your thumb under the shell to open and gently pull the shell back, lengthwise, starting at the head end. If desired, leave the tail “feathers” attached. (The tail is decorative and can be convenient to grasp when making dishes such as fried shrimp.)
To clean (devein)
Make a shallow cut lengthwise down the back of each shrimp to get to the vein, then rinse the vein out under cool, running water. If for whatever reason you don’t want a cut on the back of the shrimp to show, insert a sharp skewer underneath the vein at the middle of the back curve, and carefully lift it out. The goal is to lift it out in one piece, but it if breaks, make a second insert and repeat the process.