So a friend of mine called me at the last minute because she'd decided to throw a Mardi Gras party at another friend's house. "We need Southern food," she said. "What're you bringing?"
Now, considering that my friend is originally from Texas, I personally thought *she* would have been the official judge in that category. My family's Southern, but I was born and raised here in California. But hey, what do I know? I decided to make it easy on myself and make shrimp and grits.
This particular version is pretty and tasty. Just make sure you season the grits before you cool them (a mistake I made on the first batch). This can easily be modified for people with food allergies too. Issues with MSG? Swap the cajun seasoning for good old salt and pepper or come up with your own spicy blend. Can't have shrimp? Cook up some chicken and cut it into pieces. No dairy? Skip the cheese.
Shrimp N Grits
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
Cajun seasoning or salt and pepper
1 1/4 cups grits or cornmeal
Shredded cheddar cheese
Cooked shrimp (large, at least 24 of them)
Spray an 8" square pan and a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Set aside. Preheat the oven to "broil" and place a rack at the top.
Combine the water,seasonings and salt till boiling. Slowly pour in the grits or cornmeal, and start whisking as you pour. Continue whisking until there are no lumps. Allow grits/cornmeal to cook for five minutes or until thickened. Once thickened, quickly pour into the square pan and allow to cool completely.
Slice cornmeal into squares and place on the cookie sheet. Add cooked shrimp to the top of each square and add shredded cheese. Place cookie sheet into preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.