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Krystal Carter | Sam Houston EC

This elevated spin on classic shrimp and grits can be served various ways: Unmold the cakes for guests, serve in paper liners or spoon the creamy grits straight from the pot. Carter suggests serving this dish with sautéed spinach or other greens.

4 cups water
Pinch salt
1 cup quick grits
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, divided use
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, then spray the liners with nonstick spray.

2. Bring water and salt to rolling boil in a medium pot. Add grits, reduce heat to medium and cook 5–7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened and cooked through. Add the shredded cheese and 2 tablespoons butter, and stir to combine. Divide the grits evenly among the liners and bake 15–20 minutes until firm and set, then place the pan on a wire rack to cool.

3. Combine shrimp and seasonings in a large zip-top plastic bag, seal and shake until the shrimp are evenly coated with seasonings. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté 4–5 minutes, or until cooked through.

4. Serve the shrimp alongside the grits.

Serves 4–6.