Editor’s note: Sadie Davis-Suskind, 14, is an eighth grader at Jane Addams Middle School and an aspiring chef. A former “MasterChef Junior” competitor, Davis-Suskind will share a recipe each week that other kids can make as well.
Many of the iconic American dishes we love to make over and over again are the result of the beautiful diversity and cultures we enjoy in our country.
Many hands — Black, brown, white — have prepared shrimp and grits over the past few centuries and I’d be hard-pressed to think of a dish that gives you more in terms of taste: The textured nuttiness of the grits providing the perfect platform for the smoky, salty bacon and crisp, sweet shrimp.
Try a few drops of your favorite hot sauce and the party in your mouth will be complete!
I made this dish recently, using wild blue Mexican shrimp from Crowd Cow that had the perfect sweet, crisp flavor and snap that you look for in a dish that features shrimp.
Shrimp and grits
10- to 12-inch iron skillet
Bowl for shrimp
2 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups white or yellow quick grits
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
½ pound smoky bacon, cut crosswise into 2-inch-long pieces
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
½ cup chopped scallions
1. Combine the water and broth in a pot over medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add your grits in a thin stream, constantly whisking.
2. Whisk for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to low.
3. Add a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
4. Keep the heat low and whisk regularly. Your grits should be thickening and bubbling occasionally; this will take about 20 minutes. They will be ready when they are thick and a taste of the grits coats your entire mouth.
5. Add your butter and stir it in until it is fully incorporated. Add a cup of milk and stir until all its liquid has been absorbed. Taste your grits again and add salt and pepper if you think it needs more seasoning. Set aside covered to keep warm.
Heat a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium heat until very warm. Add your lardons (fancy word for bacon sliced into matchsticks) and cook until crisp and browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
1. Place your shrimp in a bowl. Pour grapeseed oil over them and season with salt. Toss them until coated. Take your skillet that you used for the bacon, wipe out grease and turn on heat to high.
2. Working in batches, gently place your shrimp on the hot skillet, spacing them so you can flip them easily and they don’t touch each other.
3. Press down on your shrimp with a metal spatula to sear them. Cook on one side until you see the flesh on the other turning pink (small shrimp 1 to 2 minutes on the first side) and then flip them and press down on the second side and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp. Perfectly cooked shrimp are pink with bright red tails.
Make up your plate:
Over a big helping of grits, arrange some of the bacon, shrimp and sliced scallions.
Serve and enjoy!