Last night was the first night I had a real meal for dinner since last Thursday. After a few nights of eating bread, or saltines and plain rice, I was actually hungry for a real meal and set about gathering the ingredients to make one. Shrimp was on my mind for some reason and I headed over to H Mart and found asparagus on sale for $.99 cents a lb (wooo), shrimp on sale and grits just seemed to pop into my head after that.
I was too hungry to bother to go upstairs and get my real camera, so you get iPhone shots today. My apologies.
I haven’t been a big fan of grits before. They always tasted super bland to me even when I tried making them in the past. The directions are right on the box – it only takes about 5 minutes to make – but what had I been doing wrong all these years?
A few Google searches netted me a few recipes where they all replaced water with more flavorful things – like chicken stock and milk. Aha! Of course!
And after the grits I made tonight, the difference is clear. Just using water robs of it of the potential of intense flavors. I used some homemade chicken stock, a small bit of water, and milk with a dash of salt. Some sharp cheddar cheese and a few pats of butter rounded it all out to create some seriously tasty grits.
The asparagus took a short bath in some hot water while the shrimp sizzled in a concoction of onions and lots and lots of garlic. It created a wonderful harmony of flavors that made me reconsider my previous dislike of grits and ushered me into a happy state of bliss. Yay, I can eat normal food again!
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup quick cooking grits
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned
- salt, pepper
- cajun seasoning (optional)
- trimmed asparagus
- Truly the longest part of this recipe is the prep work! After that, it's all a breeze.
- Using a medium sized pan, fill it half way with water and a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil. Cut off the base of your asparagus - that part ain't fit for eating. I then chopped mine into thirds, but you can do what you like! Once the water is boiling, drop in your cut up asparagus and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse asparagus in cold water for a minute - this helps to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- Use your same pot (just rinse it out) and add in the chicken stock, milk, and pinch of salt. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, slowly add in your grits. Stir occasionally until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add in butter and cheddar cheese - stir until cheese is fully incorporated.
- In another pan, heat up olive oil and a pat of butter. Cook onions until tender and soft (4 minutes or so) then add garlic and heat til fragrant.
- Season shrimp with cajun seasonings (I used about a tablespoon), salt and pepper and toss before adding into hot pan. Spread out in a layer. Once it turns pink on one side, flip 'em and cook on the other side until pink all the way through - just a few minutes. Add in asparagus and toss to heat through.
- Grab a plate and put a nice scoopful of grits topped with your lovely shrimpy-asparagus topping. Get giddy and dig in.