Shrimp and grits

GRITS GETS ITS DUE RECOGNITION

Okay folks, the holiday of my dreams, National Grits for Breakfast Day, has been assigned a date: September 2nd. Side note here: Who gets to sit around and come up with all the wacky holidays? I want that job. Back to today – the grits day. Believe me in my home growing up it was NOT reserved for one day in September.

HERE IS THE GRITS SCHEDULE FROM MY CHILDHOOD

My childhood grits schedule went something like this. One morning you wake up to a plate of venison sausage and a side of grits and you think things couldn’t get much better. But if your dad is a hunter and it is hunting season, things will indeed get better because the next morning is smothered quail or dove on grits. Smothered meaning complete with gravy. If you have never had the pleasure of waking up to THAT breakfast, you are truly missing something. When Mom served plain grits

Grits for breakfast

Grits on the side

served as a side dish, the leftovers always showed up the next morning served as a casserole.  We made it with raw eggs, butter, cheese and milk – just a dab of each stirred in while cleaning Wednesday’s breakfast then baked early in the morning for Thursday’s breakfast.

ENTER THE ERA OF HEALTHIER EGGS

Those were the days of grocery store eggs for us.  Wisely we have long since converted to pasture raised eggs, making a delicious breakfast, even “deliciouser.” In fact scrambled or chopped boiled eggs often found there way into our grits, as did crumbled cooked bacon, ham, or sausage.

GRITS ON FRIDAYS

But if the holiday inventors think of grits as only for breakfast, they never visited our home on a Friday evening. That was the day when we abstained from meat. Often we sat down to plate of buttered grits and a dish of coleslaw. Dad passed around a platter of salmon (I still have that salmon platter) which we flaked onto the top of the grits.  Sometimes we served a hard boiled egg on the side. On other Friday nights we had fried or baked fish, sometimes grouper but even catfish, with coleslaw, collard greens, and cheese grits.

AND NOW FOR THE PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE

Grits topped with creole shrimp

Creole Shrimp over Grits

Aaah, but I have saved the best for last, and it can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. SHRIMP AND GRITS! (now my own children’s favorite.) Some families make a shrimp creole and ladle it over grits. Oh yeah!  But we prefer ours with smoked Gouda.

OUR FAMILY RECIPE IS AS FOLLOWS:

Chop Gouda into little cubes. Next, peel and chop some hard boiled eggs.  Crumble a few pieces of yesterday’s crisp bacon, and peel and remove tails from shrimp. Bring to boil a combination of chicken stock and milk (cream if company is comin’.) The ratio in this case is four times the amount of dry grits. Meanwhile in a cast iron skillet sauté some green onions and chili peppers if you so desire. Now add shrimp for just a few minutes then top with a splash of white wine and a generous shaking of Old Bay or Emeril’s. Use a heavy hand here. Whisk 1 cup of grits for every four cups of liquid into pot, adding more seasonings. Whisk periodically for five minutes, tossing in a chunk of butter, the bacon, and the smoked Gouda towards the end. Finally, fold in shrimp mixture, (shrimp may be chopped or whole) reserving a few shrimp. Now pour into serving bowl and top with remaining shrimp. Serve with sliced avocados and tobasco sauce. Mama says, “come get it while the gettin’s good.”  Yes indeed the southern life has been transported to Pennsylvania Dutch country! #southernbreakfastmakesmehappy