Grits are a nice comfort food. Growing up I had grits for breakfast fairly often, and when I have them now, I'm reminded of the comforts from my childhood. Being from Pennsylvania, however, my mom wouldn't touch grits with a 10 foot poll. As we know, grits are most certainly not a favorite among northerners. Scrapple on the other hand, was one of her favorite breakfast foods; not to be eaten daily, but once in a while. Scrapple is considered an ethnic food of the Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish, and is made from cuts of pork mixed with cornmeal, buckwheat flower and spices; similar to the idea of a meatloaf. It is then thinly sliced, floured and lightly pan fried. On Mother's Day, I would make mom scrapple while I enjoyed a nice bowl of grits. It was win-win situation. (Although, I may have also enjoyed a bite or two of her scrapple...)
A thing or two about these grits...
-Grits can be white or yellow, depending on the type of corn used. I prefer the whole stone ground grits as compared to the "quick" grits varieties which have the germ and hull removed. Removing this part of the grain also removes the B-vitamins, iron and protein. In addition to the better nutrition quality stone ground grits provide, they just taste so much better than quick grits.
-This maize-mush was truly one of the first American foods, as maize was a very important staple for the Native Americans.
-In 1976, South Carolina declared grits the official state food. You read it right, the official state food. I had no idea there existed official state foods. What I also found interesting during my historical exploration of delicious grits, was this proclamation published in the Charleston News and Courier during 1952:
"An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace."
Shrimp and Grits
1/4 lb. raw shrimp, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cooked stone ground corn grits
1/2 - 1 Tbsp butter (the real thing)
2 generous handfuls of raw spinach
1 scallion sliced
-Cook the grits according to the package, and mix in the butter once done cooking. Cook the grits with milk instead of water for a creamier consistency. Set aside.
-Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium heat and add shrimp, cooking ~3-4 minutes on each side until done. Add the splash of Worcestershire sauce when cooking the first side of the shrimp. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
-Using the same saute pan, add the spinach and lightly saute for no more than 2 minutes, as it will wilt very quickly. Add a splash of water to the pan while cooking to prevent the leaves from sticking.
-Plate up! Scoops some grits into your bowl, add the shrimp and spinach, and top with scallions and freshly ground pepper. If you have left over juices from the shrimp and spinach in your saute pan, pour it on.
(Traditional recipes often use bacon or red-eye gravy. I left it out due to the increased saturated fat of those foods. Oh, and because I'm vegetarian.)
|A hearty and iron rich breakfast.|
Grits prepared in the low country of South Carolina are like no other. If you've had them before, please don't be too harsh if mine don't measure up! I'm workin' on it ;)