Comfort food is an interesting thing. Although you can't always remember exactly when, it typically becomes a favorite when you're younger and when you have it in the present day it takes you back to good times leaving you warm and full and happy.
I'm not sure when I started liking grits. Sure, I grew up in the South, kind of, but I think I might be the only one in my family who loves grits like I do. Sweet grits for breakfast? Sure! Savory at dinner? Yes! So it's no surprise, to me at least, that this recipe caught my eye.
It's probably a love or hate thing for most people - I'm guessing it's the texture. But for this girl, it's a love love love them give them to me now! thing.
When you add to that shrimp, sauteed in butter and garlic, then tossed with lemon and parsley, well, come on, what could be bad about that?!
I say 'nothing' except that here I am in my, ahem, thirties, and I've officially found a new favorite comfort food.
Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits
3/4 cup instant grits
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
2 large garlic cloves, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.
As I often do, I halved this recipe so I wouldn't have leftovers for days (shame on me). Good thing I have extra shrimp so I can make it again later this week. Hey, don't judge... you'll be doing the same thing. Although it's really easy to halve, I wouldn't recommend halving the grits. The smaller portion of grits may thicken way too quickly and not be as smooth as you'd like once you plate the dish.
The recipe moves so quickly, I would definitely encourage you to have everything prepped before starting anything. Grate the cheese, mince the garlic, chop the parsley, peel the shrimp... it'll be less hectic and you'll be able to enjoy the dish that much sooner. And really, you'll want to dig in as soon as possible because it is so.darn.good.