It’s probably safe to say that Shrimp and Grits is the signature dish of the Carolina Lowcountry. Originally served for breakfast, it’s now found on lunch, brunch, and dinner menus in working man’s diners and in the very finest of restaurants.
It’s also probably safe to say that there are dozens, if not hundreds of ways to make Shrimp and Grits. Some folks like them spiced up with hot pepper sauce, others add bits of smoked sausage or country ham, some start with a medium roux for the sauce and some folks like no sauce except what the shrimp and the other ingredients provide.
But the one thing that all the myriad variations have in common is that they’re all delicious. This version takes what are considered the classic ingredients and gives them something that Shrimp & Grits don’t usually have: portability!
These little cups are big on flavor and are the perfect appetizer to celebrate almost any occasion, from Christmas and New Years to Valentine’s Day, birthdays, weddings, and more.
Or why not have a ‘What-the-Heck-It’s-Tuesday’ party once in a while? Life’s too short to have to wait for a holiday to enjoy Shrimp and Grits!
Here’s how to make the Carolina Shrimp and Grits Party Appetizer Cups:
1 lb bacon
3 cups water
1 cup half & half or milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup yellow grits
2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 oz medium or sharp cheddar, grated (plus additional for garnish)
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
60 cooked medium shrimp (about 1lb), peeled & deveined
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 small jar chopped pimento for garnish
Finely sliced scallion tops (optional)
Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble into small pieces. Reserve the bacon fat.
Whisk together the water, half & half, salt, and grits in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring regularly. Stir in the butter, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
While the grits are cooking, saute the onions in 1-2 teaspoons of the bacon fat until well softened. When the grits are done, stir in half the cooked onions (reserve the remainder) and the grated cheese.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray five 12-cup mini-muffin pans with cooking spray and sprinkle with seeds. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full with the grit mixture, then spread the grits up the sides to create an indent in the center. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly crusted on the outside.
While the grit cups are baking, saute the green peppers with the garlic in a little more bacon fat until just softened. Add the shrimp, lemon pepper, bacon, and remaining onions and cook until the shrimp are just heated through. Let sit at least 5 minutes so the bacon can absorb any liquid.
Separate the shrimp from the bacon/green pepper mixture. Divide the bacon/pepper mix among the grit cups and top each with a shrimp. Sprinkle cups with a little grated cheese, add a dab of chopped pimentos, and top with a sprinkling of scallion tops.
Makes 60 appetizers.
Please join us tomorrow to read our newest food and cooking article: Last Minute Christmas Holiday Recipe Inspiration from Hugging the Coast.
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