Tuesday I shared the thought that often when you prepare a meal, little changes can be made to make a big difference in how well a dish tastes. Without changing a single ingredient, a recipe can be oodles better with slight alterations.
I had never had shrimp and grits before I met my husband, either combined or as separate dishes. But after I realized how yummy this combination can be, and more importantly, how quickly I can get shrimp and grits onto the dinner table, it became a standby dish in the Sweet Pea home.
Here’s a confession: while I love shrimp and grits, I wasn’t always happy with how my version turned out. So I set out to figure out how to improve my rendition of this Southern favorite. Here’s what I discovered: shrimp taste better when they are truly seared, grilled or sautéed, and not steamed. Shrimp, especially frozen shrimp, have a lot of moisture in them. If you do not remove all the moisture from the exterior of the shrimp before you cook them on the stove top, they steam rather than sear or sauté, which can lead to rubbery shrimp.
1. Take your fully thawed shrimp and pat them dry.
2. Place the patted dry shrimp on a plate covered with paper towels and place them in your refrigerator for a few minutes or up to an hour (refrigerators pull out moisture, so this further helps the shrimp stay “dry.”).
3. Heat your sauté pan to medium high or high, and then add a bit of vegetable oil.
4. Place the shrimp in your hot sauté pan and give them plenty of space. Spacing them out helps any residual moisture evaporate, rather than pooling in the pan, leading to a sauté/steam, which leads to more rubbery shrimp:
5. Flip your shrimp and cook, serving immediately after they are fully cooked.
Voila! Shrimp that has a tasty crust with a really tender (and not rubbery!) inside, perfect for topping on some grits:
A small change, that leads to a vast taste improvement!