Red Grits and Shrimp

If you are one of those people who goes to the local French eatery and orders a steaming bowl of moules just so you can sop up the briny wine broth with a buttery slice of baguette, you will love this dish. Its sauce is just that kind of show-stealer — flavorsome and full of warm solace.

That’s not to downplay the other ingredients: the shrimp is tender and snappy, and the grits have all the corny flavor and creaminess you could want. But shrimp does some of its best and briniest work when it’s hanging out in tomatoes — add a little bright lemon, some wine for depth, a spicy chile powder kick, and a handful of herbs, and it’s downright magic. The grits just soak all of that up, creating a luxe savoriness that’s just as satisfying, if not more, than any cheesy grits we’ve ever eaten.

A couple of notes from the test kitchen: The texture of the shrimp and fresh tomatoes against the creamy grits is an important part of the dish so watch the cook times for both. You want the tomatoes plump and warm, but not peeling, and the shrimp pink, firm, and just curling. And don’t skip the hot sauce — it’ll give your shrimp and grits some authentic zip.

Servings: 4

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 small red onion, diced small

4 garlic cloves, minced, divided

1 tsp chile powder, divided

1 tsp sweet paprika, divided

1 cup stone-ground grits

1 Gelson’s organic bay leaf

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

½ cup white wine, divided

3 cup water

Kosher salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

16 Gelson’s jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed, if frozen)

¼ cup lemon juice, divided

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 Tbsp chopped Gelson’s organic cilantro, plus more for garnish

1 Tbsp chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

Optional: Louisiana hot sauce, for garnish


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium-low heat.

  2. Add the onion, ½ the garlic, ½ teaspoon chile powder, and ½ teaspoon paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender and translucent.

  3. Stir in the grits and bay leaf. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

  4. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, corn, ¼ cup wine, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 mins, stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed and the grits are creamy.

  5. Discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the shrimp, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the remaining chile powder and paprika. Toss to coat.

  7. In a medium sauté pan, bring the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook for about 1 minute, then add the remaining garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  8. Pour in the remaining ¼ cup of wine and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add the cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and parsley and cook for about 1 minute until the shrimp are pink and firm. Season with salt and pepper.

  9. Divide the grits among 4 shallow bowls and top with the shrimp, tomatoes, and sauce. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from: Tasting Table

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