Recipe of the Week

Main Ingredient - Grits
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

These grits will make you forget that you have meat on your plate. Anson Mills grits are hand milled to a coarser grind than commercially distributed grits and the corn is specially grown for maximize flavor. Even people who think they don't like grits, love these grits. Cooking them in a mixture of cream and water is my version of the South Carolina low-country tradition.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel

Nathalie Dupree’s Shrimp And Grits Inspires New Recipe

     I recently traveled to Charleston where the wine and food festival was in session. The city swelled with pride as the top culinarians hosted chefs and food lovers from all over the country. I was lucky enough to have an invitation to cookbook author and Southern entertainer extraordinaire, Nathalie Dupree’s house for drinks.

     An hour before, Nathalie was on a panel with five other female chefs talking about being a woman in a male-dominated field. I loved her unself-conscious candor and her strong opinions—admitting that her mother wanted her to be a lady—a southern lady—above all else. That was ironic to me because I have always looked at Nathalie Dupree as the epitome of a southern lady.

     And, southern ladies know how to get their business done, come home, freshen up and lay out a cocktail buffet like no one else. I was on my way to dinner but the buffet beckoned nonetheless. Actually, it reached up and grabbed me by the collar.  

   There was a Dixie Cassoulet complete with charming lady peas, a delicious salad of garden arugula, pecans and perfect slices of avocado with a classic sherry vinaigrette, a stuffed and rolled beef tenderloin, new asparagus and many other dishes, but the dish that I could not keep my spoon out of, was a simple rendition of low country shrimp and grits.

     I love shrimp and grits almost as much as I love barbecue, and have eaten it and cooked it more times than I can count. But this version of shrimp and grits was different. I took a spoonful of the shrimp already mixed into the creamy white stone-ground grits and noticed that they looked poached. Then I took a bite. The sweet shrimp tasted like the sea and the texture was tender and pristine. I instantly realized Nathalie’s shortcut, which was also her brilliance. The one drawback to shrimp and grits is that often the shrimp—normally sauteed separately—are tough and overcooked. This new “method” will insure that the shrimp are never overcooked. Right there in Nathalie Dupree’s living room, I had a shrimp and grits epiphany.

     I couldn’t help myself, and I blurted out, “Nathalie, did you put raw shrimp in the simmering grits?”

     “Yes, I did and I sometimes put a handful of spinach in there too,” she nonchalantly replied.

     Well, that set my mind to thinking as I contemplated a few more bites of the shrimp. I couldn’t wait to get home to try a new kind of shrimp and grits recipe. Since I was no longer in shrimp country, I bought frozen IQF shrimp, {if you are lucky enough to get Shem Creek or Charleston shrimp, buy them fresh the day you are going to make these Shrimp and Grits.} baby spinach, and small ripe grape tomatoes.

     I made the grits with my favorite Anson Mills stone-ground grits, boursin and a little cheddar cheese. When the grits were seasoned and ready, I added the raw shrimp. I watched as the shrimp turned from gray to pink and curled up just so. Just before I was ready to serve the dish, in went a few large handfuls of spinach. Just before I plated my new fangled shrimp and grits, I topped the steaming bowl with sliced grape tomatoes and a quick grate of Parmesan cheese.

     It was every bit as good as I hoped it would be! This is a perfect recipe for any meal—breakfast, brunch, dinner or lunch—or a southern cocktail party in the style of Nathalie Dupree. Thank you Nathalie for the inspiration and the new technique—I’ll never make it any other way.

hi elizabeth3
a food fanatic and the Grill Girl from North Carolina who has seasoned, basted and tasted my way across the country. Please join me on my non-stop, culinary journey...

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