The one drawback to shrimp and grits is that often the shrimp — which traditionally are sauteed separately — end up tough and overcooked. Famed chef Nathalie Dupree found a simple way around this. I couldn't help myself, and I blurted out, "Nathalie, did you put raw shrimp in the simmering grits?"
"Yes, I did," she nonchalantly replied. "And I sometimes put a handful of spinach in there, too."
I made the grits with my favorite Anson Mills stone ground grits and two cheeses, Boursin and cheddar. When the grits were seasoned and ready, I added the raw shrimp. I watched as they turned from gray to pink and curled up just so. Just before I was ready to serve the dish, in went a few large handfuls of spinach.
Just before serving, I topped the steaming bowl with sliced grape tomatoes and a quick grate of Parmesan cheese. It was every bit as good as I hoped it would be!
Shrimp and Grits with Spinach and Tomatoes
Anson Mills grits are hand milled to a coarser grind than most other varieties of grits. If you can't find them, any variety of corn grits can be substituted.
3 c. water
2 T. unsalted butter
1 c. Anson Mills grits (or other corn grits)
Half of a 5.2-oz. wheel of Boursin cheese
½ c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ to 1 t. kosher salt, to taste
½ t. ground black pepper
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 c. baby spinach
½ c. grape tomatoes, halved
In a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high, combine the water and butter. Bring to a boil, then add the grits, stirring as you do so. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low to maintain a simmer. Cook, alternating with the lid on and off, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until soft but not mushy. If they get too stiff, add milk or water. The grits should be loose and creamy.
Stir in the Boursin and cheddar cheeses, and the salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, stir and let simmer until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the spinach and let wilt for 2 minutes. Garnish with the tomatoes and a generous amount of grated Parmesan. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 560 calories; 250 calories from fat (45 percent of total calories); 28 g fat (16 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 265 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrate; 38 g protein; 2 g fiber; 1,000 mg sodium.