I know, Labor Day is over and apparently that means the end of summer, so here's a fun play on a dish for you!
I got it into my head that turning shrimp and grits, traditionally served in a bowl, would be super cute as skewers. Because why make something the simple way it's always been made when I can make it harder on myself?
So I cooked up a batch of extra thick, extra cheesy yellow grits and chilled them into a giant block. I then cut that block into cubes and skewered them with some shrimp that I tossed in way too much cajun seasoning mix. And you know, it sort of worked! I originally planned to grill these on my grill pan, but there were some logistical challenges to that plan caused by combining flat shrimp with cubes of grits, so I ended up broiling them instead, which was just as delicious and, just as I suspected, super fun to eat.
The cheesy grits soften into crispy, creamy bites from the broiling, and the shrimp counterbalance with just the right amount of heat from the cajun seasoning. I think this was a pretty good, basic first pass, and I'm already dreaming of a redo with andouille sausage, peppers, and more.
Shrimp & Grits Skewers
- 1 lb large shrimp, deveined and shelled
- 1 cup dry polenta or grits
- 3 cups water
- 4 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- olive oil
- cajun seasoning
- 8-10 wooden skewers, broken in half
- Make grits. Bring water and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits and reduce heat. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick like oatmeal, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese and cayenne pepper. The mixture should thicken considerably. Pour the mixture into a parchment lined loaf pan and let cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator until firm (this is best done a day ahead).
- When ready to assemble skewers, toss the shrimp with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and as much cajun seasoning as you want. Preheat your broiler.
- Cut the chilled grits into large cubes and slide onto skewers, alternating with the shrimp. Place skewers on a parchment lined baking sheet and broil until shrimp are cooked through, flipping halfway through cooking. This should only take a few minutes on each side. Garnish with chives and serve hot.
- This is a very very basic version here, but you could definitely dress these skewers up with some roasted bell peppers, onions, and andouille sausage for a full flavor version of shrimp and grits!
- To me, the best grits are actually the yellow polenta sold by Bob's Red Mill. It's the closest I've found to the yellow grits that I grew up eating at my grandparents' house. Those grits are unfortunately impossible to find outside North Carolina, so for the rest of the country, the Bob's version is a pretty close second.