Grits: A Southern Icon

I’ve tried the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to grits, and I believe success is all in the preparation. Grits are coarsely ground dried corn cooked in liquid. The key to tasty grits that are sure to please is paying special attention to cooking time and seasoning.

Well-cooked and properly seasoned grits have a subtle corn flavor that nourishes the soul and are the perfect accompaniment to many dishes.

I grew up in Alabama eating grits as a breakfast side dish seasoned with salt, pepper and butter, but my husband likes to eat them with sugar. A southern tradition is to pan or deep fry slices of chilled grits and serve as an appetizer with a creamy spicy sauce. Grits can also be combined with seafood and meats, and the addition of cheese to grits has turned many doubters into grits lovers.

A more popular combination is shrimp and grits, which has become standard fare in restaurants across the country. One of my favorite versions is Sautéed Shrimp with Cheese Grits. This recipe is a simple, colorful sauté of shrimp, peppers and smoky bacon served over creamy cheddar cheese grits. Without a heavy sauce, this recipe creates a perfect balance of a crisp, fresh topping over the rich creamy grits.

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