In our part of the world, shrimp and grits is a staple of the brunch menu. This low-country classic has been adopted all over. Here in the South it is a leader. Our approach was to expand from just a simple offering into something special for dinner.
We use good grits – the coarse, stone-ground kind. We cooked them low and slow in a combination of chicken stock and milk. This gave us a rich, creamy texture and deep flavor.
When these were done, we stir in sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms. After that we added cheddar and Monterey Jack plus a couple of eggs. All of this assembly went into a baking dish and spent about 30 minutes in the oven.
As for the shrimp, we barely cooked those and let them sit until the whole dish was ready.
OK class, what makes anything special? Bacon, of course. So that made our list. Once the casserole came from the oven, we pushed the shrimp into the hot grits to finish cooking. Crisp bacon was scattered on top.
This was a great combination and certainly satisfying. It stays hot quite a while. Guests can serve themselves and come back for seconds. Don’t get at the end of the line.
For our last dish, we paid a visit to the Mediterranean. The dish we chose is known as shakshuka. This one is common along the southern Mediterranean – Morocco to be specific. But it gets its inspiration from a classic Italian dish uova in purgatorio – eggs in purgatory.