Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

shrimp and grits

Shrimp and Grits comes from African and African-American roots. It’s often made with bacon, but I omitted it since I’m not eating pork these days. I used a few dashes of smoked paprika for a smoky flavor. I made the Cheesy grits with a broth made from shrimp shells. If I’m making shrimp for other reasons or I have a salmon skin leftover from making salmon, I freeze them and add them to the shrimp broth. You can make the broth a few hours ahead of time.

Ingredients: Serves 3

Shrimp Broth

3 1/4 cups water

Shrimp shells

3 green onions or 1/2 yellow onion

celery tops

6 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

Shrimp stir fry:

9 oz shrimp (I used 24 medium shrimp, size 41/50)

1 Tb olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3/4 cup sliced bell peppers (if I don’t have fresh one on hand I use frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3/4 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Dash of smoked paprika

A few grinds of black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 lemon, juiced

Cheesy Grits:

3 cups shrimp broth

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 cup quick cooking hominy grits

3/4 cup (2 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese


Defrost shrimp in refrigerator overnight. If you didn’t do that, set it in a colander in the sink and let cold water run over it for 6- 8 minutes until it is soft enough to peel.


Peel the shrimp and put the shells in a small saucepan. Set the shrimp aside in a container in the refrigerator. Pour a little over 3 cups of water in the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add some celery tops and green or yellow onion, peppercorns and a bay leaf. Let it simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

While broth is cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan until it shimmers. Add onion and turn heat down. Cook 6 to 8 minutes until the onion is soft. Stir in garlic, bell peppers, salt and spices.


Strain broth into a medium saucepan. You should have 3 cups.

Heat the shrimp broth to boiling. Slowly whisk in grits. Turn burner to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

cooked shrimp

Add the shrimp to the skillet and stir fry until it is tightly curled and a bit brown, about 4-5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the shrimp mixture and use a metal spatula to scrape the browned bits into it.


Stir the cheese into the cooked grits until it melts.

Pour the grits into serving bowls and spread the shrimp mixture over it.


Cheesy True Grits

Cheesy grits with fried eggs

These creamy, cheesy grits make an easy, perfect breakfast topped with fried eggs. The melting quality of Gouda or Gruyere cheese marries the flavor of sharp cheddar in a perfect match. You can also sub half a cup of Trader Joe’s melange of Gruyere and Cheddar cheese. Unlike many Southern recipes, this California girl adds no cream and just a smidgen of butter.

Serves 2


grits box


2 cups water

A few shakes salt (I use sea salt)

1 tsp butter

1/2 cup quick cooking hominy grits

1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s Melange cheese (made of Gruyere and cheddar)


1/4 cup (2 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup (2 oz) grated Gruyere or Gouda cheese  (2 small rounds of Gouda)


Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in grits. Turn burner to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and cheese until they melt. Cover pot while you fry the eggs.

Fried eggs:

Warm eggs in a large pot of hot water for 10 minutes. Or even better, leave them out overnight. Melt a teaspoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Break eggs into pan and let them cook over medium heat until the whites begin to harden on the edges. Lift the edges in a few places and pour in a spoonful of warm water underneath them. This makes the whites more tender. Cook until the whites are opaque. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Poached Eggs: I used Alton Brown’s method:

Heat about 1 inch water in a non stick frying pan. Add 2 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp Kosher (or regular) salt and stir well. Break cold eggs into separate ramekins or teacups. Gently pour each egg in separate parts of the pan. Turn off heat and cover pan. Set timer for 5 minutes for eggs with a liquid yolk, or 7 minutes for a soft yolk. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.

Pour the cheesy grits in a cereal bowl and gently place the eggs on top. Stir and enjoy.

poached eggs on cheesy grits