Shrimp and Grits, Crook’s Corner–Style


From Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking by Bill Neal

1 pound fresh shrimp
6 slices bacon
Peanut oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup finely sliced scallions
1 large garlic clove, peeled
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Basic Boiled Grits:
4 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hominy grits
1/4 cup to 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Tabasco sauce
Freshly grated nutmeg
White pepper

1. Prepare the grits: Bring the salted water to a strong boil in the saucepan. Slowly sift the grits through one hand into the water while stirring with the whisk in the other hand. When all grits have been added, continue stirring and reduce the heat to low until only an occasional bubble breaks the surface. Continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Beat in a good quantity of butter and all the cheese. Season to taste, but lightly, with Tabasco, a very little nutmeg, and white pepper. Hold in a warm place or in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.

2. Peel the shrimp, rinse, and pat dry.

3. Dice the bacon and saute lightly in the skillet. The edges of the bacon should brown, but the bacon should not become crisp.

4. Add enough peanut oil to the bacon fat in the skillet to make a layer of fat about 1/8- inch deep. When quite hot, add the shrimp in an even layer. Turn the shrimp as they start to color, add the mushrooms, and saute about 4 minutes. Turn occasionally and add the scallions. Add the garlic through the press and stir around. Then season with lemon juice, a dash or two of Tabasco, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Divide the grits among four plates. Spoon the shrimp over, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.