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Sweet and Savory Shrimp and Grits

Photo: Thomas J. Story
Total time 35 mins

Serves 10 to 12

Recipe by Ayesha Curry, star of Ayesha's Homemade on the Food Network and author of The Seasoned Life (Little, Brown and Co., 2016). A couple of years ago, Ayesha came up with this spin on a Southern classic. Usually she adds bacon, but given that the party menu already included Brown-Sugar Bacon, it's optional here.


  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1/4 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled, deveined
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 green onions, green parts only, sliced
  • Brown-Sugar Bacon Bites

Nutrition Information

  • calories 128
  • caloriesfromfat 43 %
  • protein 8.2 g
  • fat 6.2 g
  • satfat 2.6 g
  • carbohydrate 9.9 g
  • fiber 0.9 g
  • sodium 108 mg
  • cholesterol 66 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cook grits according to package instructions. Stir in cheeses and butter, plus salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sauté onion until it begins to soften but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add peppers and a pinch each salt and pepper, then cook until tender-crisp, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in brown sugar and wine. Increase heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Add shrimp; cook until just curled and pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Stir enough hot water into grits to make them soft and spoonable. Spoon 2 tbsp. warm grits onto each of 10 to 12 small plates. Top each with 2 shrimp, 1 tbsp. pepper-wine sauce, a sprinkle of parsley, a few green onion slices, and, if desired, Brown-Sugar Bacon Bites, crumbled.

  4. Note: Nutritional analysis does not include Brown-Sugar Bacon Bites.

The Seasoned Life (Little, Brown and Co., 2016)