In the Kitchen: Shrimp and Grits

(WTNH)– Chef and Author Ashton Keefe talk about her first book, “Lemon & Salt: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Culinary Revelry” and shows us how to make shrimp and grits.

Celebrated New York based chef and culinary instructor Ashton Keefe identifies and solves the problem: why aren’t millennial females foodies cooking? Tired of being everyone’s chef friend, Ashton found her girlfriends and students were talking, writing, blogging and eating food – but not cooking. Why weren’t they cooking? This isn’t your grandmother’s cookbook.

Ashton teaches simple techniques used by chefs in home kitchens to help a generation of girls define their everyday celebrations (brunch, date night, tailgating) in a use-what-you-have mentality. Simple, well-prepared food is delicious because of two things: acid and salt. That’s all you need. That, and maybe a glass of wine. 50+ approachable recipes with minimal ingredients and equipment with pictures for each recipe. This book is durable enough to handle heavy use in the kitchen but pretty enough for a coffee table. For more information, go to

Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Shrimps and grits are a staple in the South and everyone has their own recipe. I have a secret; grits are polenta (I’m talk-ing to you Italians!) so the same principles apply. You can easily substitute one for the other if you can’t find grits at the store (see page 11). Feel free to use whatever water-to-grits ratio you please. I’ve found a good ratio for the home cook is 4:1, 4 cups liquid to 1 cup grits.

4 – 5 cups of liquid, such as water, broth, milk, cream or a combination
1 cup of grits (not instant)
1 – 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 – 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
15 – 20 medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and minced
1/2 cup of white wine
Chopped parsley, garnish

Heat liquid in a large pot. Bring to a boil and add grits while whisking. Whisk frequently over medium low heat until grits absorb the liquid and begin to thicken.

Season with salt, butter and cheese. Keep warm and fluid, adding more liquid if needed.

Place shrimp in a bowl and season with salt and cayenne.

Meanwhile cook bacon over medium heat until browned. Remove bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel. To remaining bacon fat, add onion to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook for 1 – 2 minutes per side, until light pink.

Add wine to deglaze the pan, scrapping the brown bits off the bottom. Allow the shrimp mixture to thicken slightly and remove from the heat.

Plate the grits and top with shrimp. Garnish with extra cheddar and parsley.

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