Traditional, low country shrimp and grits usually uses ingredients like butter, bacon, or cream. In this recipe, I omitted all that and opted to use a fresh cilantro pesto to flavor and sauce up the shrimp instead. I also use cornmeal which is ground finer than stone-ground grits because my family prefers the smoother texture. I LOVE this recipe. Very easy, light, and soooo yummy.
Lightened-Up Shrimp and Grits with Cilantro Pesto
- 2 lb jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 t extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/2 t Old Bay seasoning
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- pinch fresh cracked pepper
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 large bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (optional)
- 3 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c milk
- 1 c yellow cornmeal
- 1 c shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 t kosher salt
- Cilantro Pesto
Put the shrimp in bowl, add 1 t oil, the Old Bay, chili powder, 1/4 t salt, pepper, and lime zest. Toss.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook ~1 minute. Flip and cook the other side 1 minute. Remove shrimp to a dish and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the remaining 1 t olive oil. Add the bell pepper and jalapeno and toss. Cook 2-3 minutes until veggies and slightly softened. Add the shrimp to the veggies, toss, and cook another minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/4 c Cilantro Pesto and set aside.
To cook the grits, bring the water and milk to a boil. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Cook ~2 min , whisking, until thickened (add a little more water if it gets too thick). Remove from the heat. Add the cheese and 1 t salt, and stir until cheese is melted.
Serve the shrimp and veggies over the grits. Serves 4.
These bell peppers are from my garden. They are sadly small, yes.
Always devein your shrimp. Shrimp poop is not yummy.