Lemony Paprika Shrimp with Grits and Wilted Spinach: Shrimp and grits is a traditional Southern breakfast dish. Originating from the “low country” of coastal South Carolina. This particular recipe gives it a slight Spanish twist, with a hearty pinch of smoked paprika, and spinach.
Lets prepare the ingredients:
The first thing you should to is Peel and very thinly slice 2 large garlic cloves. Than grate 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest for that nice little bight. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon, and cut the rest into little wedges. Next thinly slice the scallions at an angle. Grate cheese on large holes of a box grater, or finely chop.
Marinating the shrimp:
It is always important to make sure to pat the shrimp dry to make sure to take out the extra moisture. Transfer shrimp to a medium sized bowl. Toss shrimp with smoked paprika, lemon zest, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds pepper. Let marinate the shrimp marinate for 15 minutes.
Making the grits:
Take a small saucepan, and add 2 1/4 cups water and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the quick-cooking grits. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking, watch carefully it should take about, 6–8 minutes.
Finishing the grits:
Once you have your grits perfect take it off the heat and stir in cheddar, scallions, several grinds pepper and a little salt. Cover to keep warm.
Sauteing the shrimp:
Now take a large pan and heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over high. Add shrimp and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and just curled but not browned, 1–2 minutes.
Now its time to finish the dish. Add spinach with shrimp and toss to wilt halfway. Add lemon juice and 1⁄3 cup water and bring just to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir grits, adding 1 tablespoon water to loosen if necessary. Spoon grits into bowls, top with shrimp, spinach, and pan juices. Finish off with a drizzle of oil. Serve with lemon wedges.
Lifetime Vibes Yummy Factoid
From Native American beginnings in the 1500’s to a 1980s restaurant boom, enthusiasm for this once humble dish continues to spread throughout the South and beyond.
Southerners now recognize the shrimp and grits dish as a staple dish in their every day diet. So much so that the South is sometimes referred to as the “Grits Belt.” Georgia has even named grits as its official prepared food. Even one of the South’ most influential rap groups, “Outkast”, sings about “fish and grits!”
What is so special about this seemingly simplistic meal?
Surprisingly, while grits has a rich and deep history in Southern cuisine. Up north, shrimp and grits has become a popular choice among upscale cuisine aficionados. The origin of grits’ can be traced back to the Native American Muskogee tribe’s. Preparation of Indian corn similar to hominy. The Muskogee were traditionally from the southeastern woodlands. They would prepare grits by grinding corn in a stone mill. Giving it the “gritty” texture from whence the name “grits” evolved.
From this tribe, the preparation was passed down to settlers in the area. Because hominy was used as a form of currency.
There are also known writings from the Gullah Geechee, who were descendants of slaves that were taken from West Africa. That mention meals similar to shrimp and grits. This is most likely because the Gullah slaves would periodically receive allowance or food, including grits from the slave masters.
Making the most of their local resources on the coast. The Gullahs would catch shrimp and other fish in nets. Cook them in a variety of ways, incorporating grits as a main staple.
Since then, shrimp and grits has remained a breakfast dish. Mainly in the low country marshes near the Southern coast. Spicy shrimp and grits with Cajun flavors can be found at Magnolia’s in Charleston; some versions, like the one at Commander’s Palace (pictured at top). In New Orleans, top off shrimp and grits with a delicious barbecue sauce; or, you can stick with the more traditional dish, still found at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Lemony Paprika Shrimp with Grits and Wilted Spinach
- garlic use 2 large cloves
- 1 lemon
- 1 oz scallions
- 1 1/2 oz cheddar cheese
- 10 oz US Gulf shrimp
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup of quick-cooking grits
- 3/4 cup of baby spinach
- coarse kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- olive oil
- Prep ingredients: Peel and very thinly slice 2 large garlic cloves. Grate 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon, cut the rest into wedges. Trim ends from scallions and thinly slice on an angle. Grate cheese on large holes of a box grater, or finely chop.
- Marinate shrimp: Pat shrimp dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Toss shrimp with smoked paprika, lemon zest, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds pepper. Let marinate until step 5.
- Make grits: In a small saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups water and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Slowly stir in the quick-cooking grits. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until grains are tender, 6–8 minutes.
- Finish grits: Remove grits from heat and stir in cheddar, scallions, and several grinds pepper. Cover to keep warm.
- Sauté shrimp: Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high. Add shrimp and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink and just curled but not browned, 1–2 minutes.
- Finish dish: Add spinach; toss to wilt halfway. Add lemon juice and 1⁄3 cup water and bring just to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir grits, adding 1 tablespoon water to loosen if necessary. Spoon grits into shallow bowls, top with shrimp, spinach, and pan juices and drizzle with oil. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!