I know I’ve made shrimp and grits before (and even grilled shrimp and polenta), but that’s just how much I love this classic Southern dish. This is a spicy version, using grilled shrimp marinated with a chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. The cheddar grits are combined with farm fresh sweet corn and tomatoes. The combined result is a flavorful, spicy dish with a great contrast between creamy and crunchy textures.
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 3 ears of corn)
1 cup grape tomatoes, each sliced in half lengthwise
1/3 cup vegetable stock
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup old-fashioned (not instant) grits
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup shredded aged Cheddar
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
Olive oil cooking spray
In a medium bowl, season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and toss well to coat the shrimp. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute, until just fragrant. Add the corn, tomatoes, and vegetable stock. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is heated through, but the corn remains crunchy. Set aside.
Start preparing the grits. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar, jalapeno, scallions, and the corn and tomato mixture until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
Spray a grill pan with cooking spray, and warm over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the grill pan, but do not overcrowd. Cook for about 2 minutes, then turn to cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.
The shrimp should be pink and opaque, but be careful not to overcook. Remove from the grill pan and repeat with the remaining shrimp.
To serve, spoon a mound of the grits mixture. Top with the shrimp and serve hot.
Serving size: 1 1/4 cups