Two weekends ago, I visited the Mississippi Farmer’s Market in downtown Jackson for the first time. I just love a good farmer’s market! The excitement was bubbling up inside me for over a week. Just a few treasures I picked included a jar of awesome homemade salsa, two pints of strawberries, and a lovely 8 x 10 oil-painting of sunflowers that now brightens up my desk at work.
My main goal was to come away with a few pounds of fresh Gulf shrimp for dinner than night. When the shrimp-monger (is that a word??) pulled pack the lid of his ice chest to reveal these BIG (and I mean big!), beautiful, whole jumbo shrimp, I wanted to do a little jig in delight. If I had tried to purchase these in a grocery store, I would have spent a fortune and it’s not likely they would have been caught within the last 24 hours.
After having such great success with polenta, I knew shrimp and grits was the only way to go. Some shrimp and grit recipes call for quick cooking (not instant) grits. But I prefer the texture of slow cooked polenta. The taste of this shrimp was out of this world – sweet and tender. So different from the little frozen guys I’m used to buying. I will be going back to the farmer’s market – often – if for no other reason that for fresh Gulf shrimp.
Shrimp and Grits
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2- 1/3 cups whole milk divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1/3 cup coarse polenta or corn grits
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
For the shrimp:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except the shrimp in an 8 x 8 x 2 inch casserole dish.
Place dish in the oven just until the butter melts, about 5-10 minutes.
Add shrimp and toss to coat shrimp with the butter mixture.
Return dish to the oven and bake just until shrimp turn pink and opaque, about 10 minutes.
Serve shrimp over grits.
For the polenta:
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk and 1 tablespoon butter. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low and add polenta. Simmer until polenta is creamy and liquid is absorbed - about 30 minutes - whisking constantly to keep the mixture lump-free.
Stir in remaining milk and butter. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.