Shrimp & Cheesy Grits


Shrimp & Cheesy Grits

Preheat the oven to 400


1 large tomato cut into big chunks.  I used half an enormous heirloom tomato

1 red tomato - diced (for garnish)

10 tomatillos, papery skin removed & halved

2 small red onions - one sliced thickly, the other sliced thin

6 garlic cloves (I used more like 15 - but this is your call)

6 oz (or more) of grated smoked cheese - cheddar or gouda work well

1 LB (or more) of the jumbo shrimp - peeled & deveined.  Any shrimp will work - but the bigger the better.

Olive oil

Smoked Paprika


1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Sliced scallions for garnish (optional)

2 cups Grits 

3 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock (I had leftover vegetable broth in my freezer from when I made the tortilla soup.  It was very handy in this recipe.)

3 cups half-and-half (I used fat free)

Extra grated smoked cheese as a garnish (optional)


IMPORTANT NOTE - The grits I used required a ratio of 1 cup grits to 3 cups liquid.  The ones you use may differ & have different cooking instructions.  THOSE instructions should replace mine here on how to cook the grits.  Also - these grits (as I outline) came out fairly thick & I added a cup of more of water at the end to thin them.  You might like yours thick - or thinner than I did.  This is a personal call so use your own judgement.  Lastly - the grits - like most starches - will get thicker as they sit hot on the stove & you don't want to remove them from the heat or they will cool too much before you use them.  So make the grits dead last after everything else is done & ready to go.  They cook pretty fast so this doesn't add a lot of time to the process.

Heat the oven to 400.  Line a roasting pan with parchment paper.  Or don't.  All the parchment does is keep your pan clean & the roasted veggies won't stick.  It is pretty useful -  but not totally necessary.  Anyway - once you have your roasting pan lined (or not) - put the large chunks of tomato (not the diced red tomato), the halved tomatillos, the THICK sliced red onion (reserving the thinly sliced one) & all but two cloves of garlic in the pan.  Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Toss to coat & put in the oven for 50-75 minutes - or until the vegetables are softened & begin to char a bit on the edges.

Blend these roasted delights in a food processor or blender and add the lemon juice and some S&P.  Set aside.

Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a pan & saute the thinly sliced onion & the two remaining garlic gloves (smash the cloves with the flat side of a large knife) until the onions are caramelized.  This takes between 5-10 minutes.  Remove them from the pan & set aside.

Toss your cleaned shrimp with some olive oil, a pinch of the smoked paprika (very different stuff than regular paprika - so try to use the smoked variety) and some S&P.  Cook these shrimp in the onion pan a few minutes on each side until they are pink.  Try not to OVER cook the shrimp.  You can stop cooking & set them aside - even before they are cooked through thoroughly - as they will continue to cook from their own heat for several minutes.  Once you think they are nearly done - remove them from the heat & set aside.

Heat the vegetable stock & half & half until nearly boiling.  Add the grits & bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium-low, cover the grits & set them aside for as long as your package directs.  In fact - cook the damned grits the way your package directs - just substitute a half veggie stock & half half-n-half mix for however much liquid they suggest you add to two cups of grits.  Once the grits are done, stir in the cheese and a solid teaspoon of smoked paprika.  Here is where you decide on the thickness.  If they are still too thin - cook them over medium-low heat until they thicken to where you want them.  Conversely - if they are too thick, add water & stir in over low heat until they thin to the point you desire.


Spoon a good amount of grits into each bowl.  Place some of the caramelized onion-garlic mix on top of that.  Arrange the shrimp atop that, spoon some of the tomatillo puree into the center & garnish with chopped red tomato, scallions & extra grated cheese - if you are using them.  Individuals can add more S&P to taste.  Serve immediately!!!