Spring has sprung and summer is fast approaching. If you’re like us, you’re craving a taste of the beach, and in the American South, that means one thing: Shrimp and Grits! It’s a regional favorite, and a house speciality, which is why we’re digging in to find out more.
Coastal Cuisine Reigns Supreme
Shrimp and grits are a traditional staple in great Southern coastal cuisine. Similar to polenta, grits are a rich and creamy ground corn porridge first introduced by Native Americans in the 1500s. Today, they’ve been transformed into a popular dish seen on menus nationwide. The true origin of shrimp and grits is believed to be Charleston, South Carolina, where the recipe first appeared in 1950 as a breakfast recipe in the Charleston Receipts cookbook. By 1976, the meal was so popular South Carolina declared shrimp and grits the official state food.
There are many iterations, like the addition of cajun spices, rich gravies, and fire-roasted vegetables, but the essence of the dish remains the same. Finely-ground corn grits are boiled in milk and butter until thick and creamy, then topped with quick-seared, flavorful coastal shrimp. While this delightful combination originated as a breakfast dish, it’s a popular option for lunch, brunch, and dinner throughout the South.