Cooking From My Books: Shrimp and Grits

This is another recipe from Delicious. Readers might remember when Reggie Visited Biddie Lee Hughes, a lovely older restaurant¬†who unfortunately couldn’t keep track of where she was and what she was supposed to be doing. It quickly became clear that if the producers of Simply Delicious had any chance of filming the segment, Reggie was going to have to take the lead.

So Reggie jumped right in and improvised, realizing that the classic southern dish had similarities to an Italian recipe Reggie could make in her sleep.

Enjoy this recipe for shrimp and grits, or if you like, gambieri con polenta!


4 cups water
1 bay leaf, plus 2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
1/2 rib celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds rock shrimp
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 2 tablespoons

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, combine the water, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Gradually whisk the cornmeal into the pot, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir constantly until the polenta is smooth and thick, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Turn the polenta into a serving bowl and keep warm.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the celery and garlic, and process to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onion. Saute until softened and slightly browned, about 3 minutes, then add the celery and garlic, and remaining bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and wine, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add a bit of water if necessary to keep the mixture from getting too thick, cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the shrimp are tender but cooked through.
Remove the bay leaves and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately with the warm polenta.

  • May 4, 2016

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