Shrimp-Lover’s Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp heads and peels are used to create the stock that absorbs the grits. Shrimp are included in the recipe both as a garnish on top and also as an ingredient folded into the grits themselves.

Shrimp-Lover's Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp heads and peels are used to create the stock that absorbs the grits. Shrimp are included in the recipe both as a garnish on top and also as an ingredient folded into the grits themselves.


  • 30 large head-on shrimp ((roughly 2 lbs))
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp salted butter
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz bacon, cut into thin 1/8” lardons
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced, as garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as garnish
  • Sprinkle of smoked paprika, as garnish


  • Remove heads and peels from shrimp and place heads and peels in small stockpot.
  • De-vein the shrimp and dry with paper towels.
  • Marinate the shrimp in a mixture of garlic, soy sauce, and smoked paprika in a bowl.
  • Add 5 cups water to the stockpot with the shrimp heads and peels.
  • Add the onion, celery, carrot and bay leaves to pot and cook for 1 hour.
  • Squeeze out the juice from the shrimp heads into the cooking liquid.
  • Strain out the mixture and ensure that you have roughly 4.5 cups of shrimp stock to use for cooking the grits.
  • Bring shrimp stock to a boil and add 1 Tbsp kosher salt.
  • Add the yellow cornmeal and whisk to avoid lumps, whisking every few minutes.
  • Cook cornmeal for roughly 20 minutes, or until the mixture is soft.
  • Whisk in the butter and add the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • If the mixture is too thick, add some more water.
  • Cook sliced bacon lardons in saute pan on medium heat until they are crispy and have released some of their fat.
  • Remove crispy lardons from saute pan and drain on paper towels, reserving the bacon fat in the saute pan.
  • Turn heat to high and wait until the oil is very hot.
  • Quickly sear the shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until shrimp is just cooked through.
  • Remove and allow 2/3 of the cooked shrimp to rest.
  • Cut the remaining 1/3 of the shrimp into small slices, and fold sliced shrimp into the grits.
  • Serve grits hot, topped with seared whole shrimp, a handful of sliced scallions, crispy bacon lardons, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.


The recipe above is designed to feed 4 people. The recipe is best eaten right after it is made, and can be scaled down if feeding fewer people.
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