Shrimp and grits with kale and cilantro purée

shrimp and grits

Comfort food time! Only this time I made it (semi) healthy. Though honestly, in the food blog world, anything with the addition of kale makes a dish healthy.

However this time I took things to the next level. In case you guys haven’t heard of shrimp and grits before, it is a common food in the south that mixes creamy grits and grilled shrimp. In this recipe, I overload the grits with cheese and I top the dish with a drizzle of lemon cilantro purée to lend a little acidity. Last, I gave the shrimp a smokey dry rub of chili powder and cumin to help mellow everything out.

Now on to the recipe!

ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 cup instant grits plus enough water (according to the package instructions) to cook it
  • 1 cup cheese
  • 1 cup defrosted frozen whole, raw shrimp (the bigger the better for this – no one wants wimpy shrimp for this kind of recipe)
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1-2 tbs low flavor olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

cilantro-pesto-final

Step 1: Blend the cilantro, lemon juice and zest and olive oil in a food processor until you have a smooth liquid. Add more olive oil as needed to help the blending process along. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cook the grits according to package instructions, I made it in the microwave. Add the cheese. If the grits are too thick, thin it out with a little milk until the grits have the thickness of mashed potatoes.

shrimp-final

Step 2: Preheat a large pan on high. In a large bowl, rinse the raw shrimp in water. This will remove any excess fishy taste or salt. Drain the water from the bowl and pat the shrimp with a paper towel.

Mix the defrosted shrimp with the chili powder, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until they turn pink and are firm to the touch. Push the shrimp to the side of the pan and add the kale. Season the kale with salt and pepper. Cook until the kale develops a deep green color and softens slightly.

shrimp and grits

Step 3: The plating! Start with a healthy dollop of grits. Make a small indent in the middle of the grits to make room for the toppings. Then, add the kale on top and then top with a few of the shrimp. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of the cilantro sauce.

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