Traditional, low country shrimp and grits usually uses ingredients like butter, bacon, or cream. In this recipe, I omitted all that and opted to use a fresh cilantro pesto to flavor and sauce up the shrimp instead. I also use cornmeal which is ground finer than stone-ground grits because my family prefers the smoother texture. I LOVE this recipe. Very easy, light, and soooo yummy.
Lightened-Up Shrimp and Grits with Cilantro Pesto
- 2 lb jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 t extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/2 t Old Bay seasoning
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- pinch fresh cracked pepper
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 large bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (optional)
- 3 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c milk
- 1 c yellow cornmeal
- 1 c shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 t kosher salt
- Cilantro Pesto
Put the shrimp in bowl, add 1 t oil, the Old Bay, chili powder, 1/4 t salt, pepper, and lime zest. Toss.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook ~1 minute. Flip and cook the other side 1 minute. Remove shrimp to a dish and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the remaining 1 t olive oil. Add the bell pepper and jalapeno and toss. Cook 2-3 minutes until veggies and slightly softened. Add the shrimp to the veggies, toss, and cook another minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/4 c Cilantro Pesto and set aside.
To cook the grits, bring the water and milk to a boil. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Cook ~2 min , whisking, until thickened (add a little more water if it gets too thick). Remove from the heat. Add the cheese and 1 t salt, and stir until cheese is melted.
Serve the shrimp and veggies over the grits. Serves 4.