Shrimp and Grits is a Southern staple! Especially here in Texas, you are likely to find some version of this dish in many restaurants. But we wanted to make it our own! And with that we present Blood Orange Shrimp and Creamy Cheese Grits.
This recipe takes Shrimp and Grits recipes to a new level with our 15-minute shrimp marinade that uses Blood Orange infused olive oil. The grits are creamy and slightly cheesy and perfectly complement the shrimp and leave you craving more! And if you end up having any leftover, they are perfect with a fried egg for breakfast.
Let's talk about Shrimp and Grits...
I (Mark) have always loved Shrimp and Grits, both as a dish and by themselves in nearly any preparation. I’ve eaten this dish countless times and it has been interpreted in a number of ways.
Although Shrimp and Grits is considered a Southern dish, it has made its way around the United States in recent years and seems to be picking up steam. Since the 1980s, the popularity of this delicacy has grown steadily. But grits have been around for centuries and the dish has origins back to the 1800s.
What are grits made out of?
Grits are a made from cornmeal and are usually cooked with water, milk, or other broth-based liquid into a porridge-like consistency. Often the grits have cheese, sometimes the garnish includes bacon, country ham, cheddar cheese, green onions mushrooms, just butter, and sometimes nothing at all. Grits are a great accompaniment for many dishes, and are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Preparing the Shrimp
The shrimp can be whole, with the head on, peeled completely or anywhere between. The fact is that this is a great dish to bring out a cook’s creativity and you really can’t go wrong, can you?
We prefer to use peeled shrimp with tails on, and marinate the shrimp using in something super flavorful. For this recipe, we used our 15-minute blood orange marinade, but we have experimented with lots of different marinades and seasonings and it is usually still a winner. But this particular marinade is amazing all around and would be fantastic on chicken as well!
15-minute Blood Orange Shrimp Marinade
This marinade is truly a home run and we know you will make it again and again!
For the marinade, we chose to use a blood orange infused olive oil for the citrus. We highly recommend looking for this option because the blood orange really makes the shrimp shine. It is usually fairly easy to find, especially during this time of the year when blood orange is all the rage. Just do a quick Amazon search and you will find many!
Blood Oranges are slightly sweeter than regular oranges and have a beautiful bright pink or red flesh. They are seasonal and usually appear in grocery stores between December and May throughout the United States. If you have not had them before, trust us, you need to give them a try. Also, if you love the flavor, check out this recipe for a Blood Orange Glaze for duck, fish or chicken.
If you can't find blood orange olive oil, you can use another citrus olive oil (such as orange or lemon). Or use the juice of ½ a Blood Orange, or regular orange.
The rest of the marinade is pretty straight forward and requires just a few ingredients that can be found at your local grocery store.
Tips for Creamy Grits - No one wants lumpy grits!
There are a few pitfalls to this dish that are basic technical items. Lumpy grits or overcooked shrimp garner an auto-fail in almost anyone’s book.
To prevent your grits from getting lumpy, whisk the grits at the beginning and stir often.
Another little “trick” is not terribly uncommon, but very effective. Use some milk in your grits and you’ll have a much creamier and flavorful end product. Stocks can also help achieve a taste that can be desirable in general, but for this dish, there is no need for any stock in the grits. Give this a try some other time if you are pairing the grits with chicken or braised beef.
One last thing to consider with grits is to make sure you read the instructions on the bag or box! For real, though...
There is a version of grits available in stores referred to as "quick grits." Just like instant oatmeal, these grits cook differently than the regular kind. It's totally fine if you have quick grits, just follow the cooking instructions on the box, along with the ingredients we listed in the recipe below. You will be just fine!
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Blood Orange Marinated Shrimp and Creamy Cheese Grits! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine.
Try out some of our other popular recipe!
- Crunchy Chicken with White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce
- The Best Homemade Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- Homemade Pasta Recipes: Make It Today
- Saltimbocca alla Romana
Blood Orange Shrimp and Creamy Cheese Grits
For the Shrimp
- 1.5 lbs shrimp - head off and about U10 size if you can get them (12-14 shrimp)
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (or any citrus infused olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon zest of blood orange (or use a regular orange)
- 1 small blood orange (or use a regular orange)
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or use a citrus vinegar)
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 small shallot - finely diced
- 1 garlic clove - minced
For the Grits
- ⅔ cup grits (see note if using quick or instant grits)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup + ⅓ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche (or sour cream)
- 2 ounces grated Jarlsberg or other alpine/swiss cheese
- A few drops of chile infused olive oil (optional to drizzle on top)
- black pepper to taste
Wilted Garlic Spinach (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- pinch of salt
PREPARE THE SHRIMP
- Peel and devein the shrimp but leave the tails on for presentation. Feel free to completely peel them if you wish. Set aside while you assemble the marinade and start the grits.
PREPARE THE MARINADE
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk thoroughly to incorporate. You don't need to make an emulsion, just get it mixed well. Set aside.
THE GRITS (see note for instant or quick grits)
- In a medium saucepan, bring the liquids to a slight boil. Add the grits and salt to the pot and stir thoroughly (you can whisk it here as well to make sure there are no lumps).
- Turn heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes - the coarser your grits are the longer it will take to cook. Stir often to make sure the grits do not stick and burn to the bottom of the pan.
- When the grits are tender, stir in the cheese, butter and crème fraîche. You can add more if you want. Taste for additional pepper.
MARINATE THE SHRIMP
- Do a little time planning here so the shrimp are done right after the grits are done. It doesn't have to be perfect, but you'd rather wait on the shrimp than the grits - they will stay hot.
- Marinate the shrimp for 15-20 minutes and remove from marinade and put on a plate.
- Heat a little oil in a skillet on medium high and, when hot, add shrimp. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until shrimp are pink and just starting to curl.
WILTED GARLIC SPINACH
- Allow a large pan to heat over medium, then add the oil.
- Add garlic and let it cook for a minute until it begins to turn slight golden. Remove and set aside.
- Turn heat up to medium high and allow it to heat until it just begins to barely smoke. Add spinach and stir to cook evenly for no more than 30 seconds. The goal is to barely wilt the spinach. Remove to a place and toss with garlic and a pinch of salt.
- Put the grits on a plate or in a shallow bowl, add the spinach, then the shrimp on top and garnish with black pepper and chile oil if desired. You can also add a number of garnishes that work - like green onions, parsley, chives or anything you like. Enjoy!