Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baked Shrimp and Grits with Swiss Chard

When picking recipes, I usually don’t give much thought to the type of cuisine.  I focus more on the ingredient(s) I want to use and search around until something catches my eye.  Then I look closer to make sure it’s at least somewhat healthy, not too time consuming to make (for weeknights at least) and won’t require a bunch of ingredients that I don’t have already.  Overall though, the majority of my cooking falls into the Italian/French/American category with only occasional deviations to Latin America or Asia.  Within the American realm of food, southern style cooking is a favorite of mine and the urge for shrimp and grits bubbled to the surface when I came across this recipe from the Food Network while looking for a use for the Swiss chard in last week's share.  

First thing you've probably noticed after clicking on that link is that this is a polenta recipe, not grits.  “What’s the difference?” you ask?  Well, to that I do not have an answer that would prevent me from receiving irate emails from Italians and Southerners alike.  So instead I suggest you take a look at this very informative article on NPR.com in which the author explains the differences much better than I ever could.

The recipe below is basically the same with less garlic, replacing the polenta with grits and the addition of the shrimp. The end result was very good, and felt much more like a Southern style dish than Italian, which was my goal.  I suppose that if you wanted to be even more Southern in the ingredients, you could replace the mozzarella with white cheddar and use collard greens instead of the chard.

Share contents used:
Swiss Chard

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 to 10 cups chopped Swiss chard, stems and leaves kept separate
Butter for greasing dish plus 1 tablespoon butter for the grits
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 cup white corn grits
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned, tails removed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, then stir in the Swiss chard stems. Pour in a few tablespoons of water and cover the pan. Cook the stems 2 minutes. Remove the cover, the mix in the Swiss chard leaves. Cover the pan again and cook until the leaves wilt, about 3 minutes. Toss occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool, uncovered.

To make the grits, combine the milk, water, and salt in a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and slowly drizzle in the dry grits, whisking all the while with a wire whisk. Continue to cook and whisk the grits until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes and tears away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the 1 tablespoon of butter, and the mozzarella cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Butter a 2 1/2 quart shallow baking dish, spread half the grits in the baking dish. Spoon on the Swiss chard and distribute it evenly. Drop on small spoonfuls of the sour cream and spread it with the back of a spoon. Spoon on the remaining grits and spread it out. Place the shrimp in a single layer on top of the grits.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper and sprinkle on the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through and the grits are starting to brown.

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