Since early adulthood, I’ve always been enamored by the South. OK, it started in stereotypical fashion – I’ve read Gone With the Wind more times than I can remember but even from my first visit below the Mason-Dixon line, there’s just something about this part of the country that gets to me. The people, land, the FOOD and yes, even the weather – bring it on. So, when my Southern mentor and friend, Regan Jones of The Professional Palate, told me about the Food Blog South weekend in January, it took me less than a day to commit. As Serena & I just launched this blog in May, we still have a lot to learn and what better place do to it than in Birmingham, Alabama surrounded by Southern food lovers and online gurus? This Southern-Wanna-Be is in.
Last week, I ordered my first sack of stoneground grits from War Eagle Mill and got cooking (adding a fall flavor twist to tradition.) And any excuse I have to cook and eat shrimp, I’m all over it.
Rosemary Shrimp & Sweet Potato Grits
Serves 4 -6
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper
1 cup uncooked grits
2 cups water
1 cup lowfat milk
1 large baked sweet potato, skin removed and mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large baggie, place shrimp, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Seal tightly and thoroughly mix. Marinate in refrigerator 1 -2 hours.
In large pot, bring grits, water and milk to a boil. Reduce to medium low, stir well and cover. Cook about 20 minutes.
While grits are cooking, heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet. Saute shrimp in batches of a dozen, about 5 minutes per batch.
Once grits are finished, mix in mashed sweet potato, cheese, butter and salt. To serve, spoon grits into each bowl and top with shrimp.
Fellow Yankees, do you have a favorite Southern dish? Southern friends, what are the must-haves in your Southern pantry?