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Coastal Carolina Shrimp and Cheddar Grits Cakes

Coastal Carolina Shrimp and Cheddar Grits Cakes
Heather Anne Thomas / Kimberly Schlapman


Grits Cakes
  • Olive oil, for the baking dish and for brushing
  • cups milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1/2 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen cream corn, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon Creole-style seasoning, such as Zatarain's
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, tail on
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chef notes

While I was visiting Charleston, South Carolina, I had the privilege of learning all about the regional classic low-country dish, shrimp and grits. It's wonderful for sharing with guests in that casual, coastal Carolina way.

Technique tips: When you're purchasing fresh shrimp, look for a slightly red cast to the legs. This recipe is great for entertaining. You can make the grit cakes ahead of time, but hold off on broiling them and prepare the topping up to the point when the shrimp are added.


For the grits cakes:


Oil a 9-inch square glass baking dish.


Combine the milk and garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the grits and cook, whisking, until very thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheddar until melted. Add the salt, pepper and parsley. Pour into the dish and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the grits. Refrigerate the grits until firm, about 30 minutes.


Preheat the broiler to high. Unmold the grits onto a cutting board and cut them into 9 squares. Lay the squares on a baking sheet, brush them with olive oil and broil until golden brown and warmed through, 2-3 minutes per side. Keep them warm.

For the shrimp:

Cook the bacon until crispy in a large skillet over medium heat. Scoop out the bacon bits and set them on a paper towel to drain.

Pour most of the drippings off but leave 2 tablespoons in the pan. Add the shallots and remaining garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the bacon, cream, cream corn, Creole seasoning and thyme and stir. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve:

Serve the shrimp and sauce on top of the grits cakes.