The first time I've ever had Shrimp and Grits was from Brenda's French Soul Food in San Francisco. It was love, and I mean, LOVE, at first bite. It's so serious that every other version of Shrimp and Grits just won't do for me. However, Ayesha Curry's Sweet and Savory Shrimp and Grits, her twist on this Southern classic from her cookbook, The Seasoned Life, is a good one to make at home.
Now that I'm starting to really get a hang of cooking, there's one thing I definitely learned: prep all the ingredients before turning on the stove. For whatever reason, I used to always prep a little prior and then continue to prep while I'm cooking. NOPE. I learned the hard way, thanks to missed ingredients and even overcooked food (FWIW, it only happened once!).
To prep the vegetables, I used this gorgeous handcrafted edge-grain butcher block from Childs & Co. that includes maple, walnut, and cherry — woods that are toxin-free, aren't porous, and won't harbor bacteria easily. When I first got my hands on this block, I was completely amazed by its quality. That's no surprise, of course — they're made by hand with love and care by Childs & Co., a family-owned and operated company in Gilroy, CA.
I'm also absolutely loving that apron I got as a birthday gift (thanks, Jessica!) — it's from Lundy Way in collaboration with Ayesha Curry's Little Lights of Mine.
After all the ingredients are prepped, start on the grits. I used the only quick cooking grits I was able to find, which is Albers Quick Enriched Hominy Grits, not the Quakers version Ayesha recommends. This is the first time I've ever made grits, so I'm definitely not an expert, but this tasted fine to me! Follow the package's instructions, and then mix in fontina cheese, mild cheddar cheese, and butter, along with salt and pepper to taste.
Next, cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Place them on a paper towel, and then chop when cool.
Using some of the oil left from the bacon, slowly start sautéing the onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Once those are a bit cooked, push them to one side of the skillet and start cooking the shrimp on the other side. After about two minutes, sprinkle brown sugar evenly on top of the shrimp and stir.
Before you stir the shrimp and vegetables together, pour some Riesling. After the wine reduces by about half, add lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir just a little more before turning off the stove.
Now start assembling! Spoon the girts into a bowl, add the shrimp and vegetables on top, and then garnish with the chopped bacon, chopped parsley, and though it's not pictured here, sliced green onions. Then viola! There you have it — a yummy Sweet and Savory Shrimp and Grits from Ayesha.
Be sure to check out Childs & Co.'s Etsy shop for handcrafted butcher blocks. Its high quality, and honestly, just plain beauty, would be great in your own kitchen, as well as gifts for your loved ones. While you're at it, you should also follow them on Instagram, @childs.co, for new product alerts, behind-the-scene looks, and usage inspiration.
Another thanks to Childs & Co. for sponsoring this post. Recipe belongs to Ayesha Curry; all other content and (honest) opinion expressed are absolutely my own.