This Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers’ Market, Rebekah is cooking up Summer Bruschetta featuring sweet grape tomatoes. Be sure to stop by the Celebrity Chef tent to get a taste and say hi!
Shrimp and Grits with a White Wine Sauce
1 pound Prosser’s Wholesale Wild Georgia Shrimp,
peeled and deveined
Freeman’s Mill White Stone Ground Grits
6 slices thick-cut, hickory-smoked bacon
Half of 1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Old Bay seasoning
Green onion or chives for garnish
In a saucepan, bring 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat, then toss in the shrimp. Cook until they turn pink and season with Old Bay.
Cook grits according to package directions, using the appropriate amount of chicken broth, depending on the portion size you’re serving. Season grits with salt and pepper and a dash of Old Bay, then add
Cook approximately 6 slices of bacon. Drain on paper towels. Pour off bacon grease, reserving 2 tablespoons to sauté vegetables. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno to the remaining bacon fat. Cook for about 3–5 minutes, stirring. Add
Once vegetables have married together, deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add heavy cream and let come to a simmer, stirring constantly.
To plate, spoon grits in to a bowl, top with white wine sauce and surround grits around the perimeter of the bowl with about 10 shrimp per serving. Garnish with green onion or chives. Serve with toasted bread.
If ever I had a signature dish, shrimp and grits it would be. It’s my go-to meal to serve to company and the item that inevitably grabs my attention first on restaurant menus in the coastal South. The Lowcountry staple has been around for more than 100 years and has grown from what began as a humble fisherman’s breakfast to an iconic Southern repast. In 2011, shrimp and grits was the most popular dish served at weddings across the United States.
My favorite cookbook, “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, says the first printed copy of the original recipe, titled “Shrimp and Hominy,” was in the 1930 edition of “Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking.” Many variations of the recipe exist today, but one thing is certain: A recipe is only as good as the quality of its ingredients.
I think we’re especially blessed to live in the coastal plains, where wild Georgia shrimp is easy to come by and Georgia farmers are aplenty, producing those healthful vegetables like sweet red bell peppers and jalapenos that accompany the to-die-for sauce in my shrimp and grits recipe. Statesboro is even home to Freeman’s Mill — stone-grinding grits and corn meal daily. Here’s a tip: When cooking grits, always take the opportunity to layer in depth of flavor. Instead of using water, try milk or broth. I love the creamy texture milk gives grits and the flavor of them when they’re cooked in chicken or beef broth. That special touch takes the dish from mediocre to restaurant quality faster than you can say, “Go Eagles.”
Whenever possible, shop local. Nothing beats sitting down to a meal grown on Georgia ground, planted by the hands of folks right here at home. The benefits of buying fresh, nutritious and locally grown foods far outweigh a visit to one of the conglomerates in town, especially during August in the Boro. Where else can you get one-on-one information from the farmer himself about an uncommon fruit or learn about the flavor and richness of free-range eggs? At a grocery store, the produce department employee may be able to tell you what’s out of stock and when the next shipment comes in, but the likelihood of discovering their favorite way to prepare radishes or the secret to pairing fresh herbs with complimentary dishes probably will not come up in conversation. Buying produce from the farmers’ market keeps the money we spend closer to our neighborhood, spurring on the local economy. In the meantime, you may be exposed to a new fruit or vegetable!
One visit to the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers’ Market and you’ll be well on your way to cooking my recipe for Shrimp and Grits with a White Wine Sauce featuring hardwood-smoked bacon and Prosser’s Wholesale Shrimp — caught fresh off the Georgia coast — in Brooklet. Open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Sea Island Bank parking area, the farmers’ market is chock-full of everything you need to get cookin’.
Rebekah Faulk is a local food writer and blogger at Some Kinda Good, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. Email her at SKGFoodBlog@gmail.com.