Shrimp ‘n’ Grits, Gullah-style

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Chef Sallie Ann Robinson offers her own version of a Lowcountry comfort food favorite.

A day in the kitchen with Sallie Ann Robinson offers much more than a cooking lesson.  First, there’s the laughter, deep belly laughs shared over a 12-inch cast iron skillet.  Second, you get a picture of what her childhood growing up on Daufuskie Island was like when there were still few homes with electricity and dirt roads.

Her father, whom she called Pops, would tell her and her other siblings stories as he knitted the casting nets her family used to catch fresh blue crabs and fish.  Her mother would make a mess of Smuttered Shrimp and Grits for breakfast to carry them through a day on the water.

Here is Sallie’s take on her mother’s hearty dish.

Smuttered Shrimp and Grits

Serves 6

2 cups Jim Dandy Quick Grits, prepared according to package instructions

1 cup vegetable oil

1 pound Wild Georgia Shrimp, peeled and deveined (see Sallie’s how-to HERE>>)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup flour, preferably White Lilly self-rising flour

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 cup hot water

3 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet, preferably a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder and toss.  Place the flour in a large plastic bag with a zip lock then add the seasoned shrimp, close the lock and shake the shrimp to coat it well.

Test the oil temperature by dropping in a dab of the flour.  If it sizzles then add the shrimp to the hot skillet and cook the shrimp until it is browned on both sides.

Remove the shrimp and set aside.  Drain the oil then add the onion, bell peppers, celery and water then turn the heat to medium and simmer the vegetables until they are tender.  Add the shrimp and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until the gravy thickens and browns.

Serve the shrimp over the prepared grits and crumble the bacon on top.  Season with salt and pepper.