Shrimp and Grits by Eric Backer
Food & Social
Myles Gleason
A classic southern recipe worth trying in your own kitchen.

Creamy Creole style Tomato Sauce

Make this sauce in advance.

2 TBLS Olive Oil

½ cup Yellow Onion- small dice

½ cup Red Pepper- small dice

½ cup Celery- small dice

¼ cup Garlic- minced

½ cup white wine

28 oz diced tomatoes (1 larger can)

Pinch Dried Oregano- ground

To Taste:



Tabasco or preferred hot sauce

1.5 cup heavy cream

  • Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat
  • When pot is ready, add oil, onion, red pepper, celery and garlic. Saute (stirring frequently) until caramelization begins- you want some color on your veggies, but do not let garlic burn (3-5 minutes)
  • Add the wine and cook until most of it has evaporated (2-3 minutes)
  • Add the tomatoes and dried oregano. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover.
  • Let cook for 30 minutes stirring frequently. Make sure temperature is not too hot- a gentle simmer will do the job.
  • Next- add salt, pepper, hot sauce and cream. Return to a simmer and adjust seasoning as needed (2 minutes)
  • Remove from heat and let sit for at least 10 minutes
  • Last step is to puree mixture until smooth. If not using immediately, pour into a shallow container so that it will chill as fast as possible. Sauce will last 5 days under refrigeration.

In addition to serving as the sauce for Shrimp and Grits, this sauce is a great base for soup (just add an equal amount of stock, throw in some veggies, beans, chicken and or pork and you’ve made a quick soup) or sauce for another dish.

Damn Good Grits!

Grits- is there anything more southern? There are a thousand ways to make them and maybe you could just trust your mom’s recipe. But for those of you looking to try something different, try my recipe…

This is about 6 servings.

1 cup grits

3 cups chicken stock

2 cups milk

4 ounces grated or crumbled cheese (smoked gouda is my preference, but feel free to experiment- pepper jack, cheddar, bleu cheese, cream cheese… or mix )

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Begin the night before by soaking the grits in 1.5 cups of the chicken stock and keeping them in the refrigerator
  • The next day, bring the remainder of stock (1.5 cups) and milk to a simmer. Mind the stove as scorching the milk will taint your grits.
  • As soon as it comes to a simmer, add your soaked grits with any remaining liquid and return to a simmer.
  • Using a whisk, stir the grits often and thoroughly until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the grits- should be creamy.
  • Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner and whisk in the cheese until melted and thoroughly incorporated.
  • Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe is not the end all be all of grit preparation- feel free to customize with your favorite spices and herbs. Add minced rosemary and serve with lamb or beef. Add basil and parsley and serve with seared fish…

Shrimp and Grits

Do you know about shrimp sizing? In the professional kitchen, shrimp are referred to by their “count”- that is how many per pound. When we talk about 51-60 shrimp, we are saying there are 51-60 per pound (not very big). By comparison, 16-20 are much larger- about an ounce each because there are 16-20 per pound. When preparing this dish, I prefer to use either 16-20 or 21-25 sized shrimp. The reason is that I like a good sear on the outside and the smaller the shrimp, you run the risk of overcooking when you try to sear (they will cook through before getting any color). Regardless of the shrimp size, I suggest about 5-6 ounces per serving…

Recipe will serve 4 people.

1.5# shrimp

2 TBLS Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

2.5 cups Creamy Creole style Tomato Sauce

For garnish:

Chopped Scallions

Shaved Parmesan

  • Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat
  • Once hot, add oil swirl and shrimp
  • Turn shrimp while searing- add salt and pepper to taste
  • Cook shrimp through
  • Add sauce and bring to a simmer
  • Remove from heat and serve over a nice serving of grits

Garnish with chopped scallions and shaved parmesan cheese.

Request Waterways Info Package

Stay up to date by subscribing to our Newsletter.