Shrimp and Grits Bites are a bite-sized version of two of the South’s favorite foods. Succulent shrimp are mounted on top of Smoked Gouda Grits rounds for a perfect appetizer. Wow your family and friends with these delicious bite-sized treats.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Shrimp and Grits Recipe
I’m a huge fan of cheese grits, and decided that these tasty morsels should be based on cheese grits.
The Grits: Generally when I make grits, I use quick grits. For this appetizer, I decided to use stone-ground grits.
Stone-ground grits are made from whole dried corn kernels that have been coarsely ground between the two stones of a grist mill. Because the entire kernel is ground, including the germ, stone-ground grits often have a speckled appearance. Also, stone-ground grits have more of a corn flavor.
Quick grits on the other hand is made from dried hominy where the hull and germ have been removed. Quick grits is ground fine and processed to cook quickly.
The Cheese: Generally, when I make cheese grits, I add Velveeta cheese. I also like to add Smoked Gouda cheese to grits, which is what I did with this recipe.
The Rest of the Ingredients: Bringing up the rear are water, salt and pepper.
One of the benefits of living on the Gulf Coast is an abundance of fresh seafood. My favorite is shrimp, preferably bay shrimp.
I like to buy head-on shrimp and clean them myself. Although cleaning the shrimp is pretty gross, the head-on shrimp tend to be the freshest!
To clean the shrimp, I cut off the head and remove the shell. For the recipe, I left the tails on for appearance.
I then remove the vein from both the top and the bottom of the shrimp. Anyone who thinks that deveining the shrimp is unnecessary has never see how gross the vein can be!
The Flavorings: To flavor the shrimp, I used fresh garlic, Creole seasoning and Italian seasoning, complimented with some fresh lemon juice.
The Rest of the Ingredients: For the remaining ingredients, I used some olive oil and unsalted butter.
Making the Shrimp and Grits Bites
Time needed: 1 day, 1 hour and 10 minutes
Making the Shrimp and Grits Bites was relatively easy. It involved preparing the grits, cooking the shrimp and putting the two parts together.
- Cooking the Grits
I started by adding the butter, salt and pepper to boiling water. Then, I added the grits and stirred everything together.
I simmered the grits over medium-low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Adding the Cheese to the Grits
After 25 minutes, the grits were thick and creamy. At this point, I added the shredded Smoked Gouda cheese.
I stirred the mixture until all of the cheese had melted. Then I cooked the cheese grits for another 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
At this point, the grits were quite thick, which was what I want.
- Transferring Cooked Grits to Sheet Pan
After 30 minutes of cooking the grits, I transferred them to a quarter-sheet pan that I had lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Then, I spread the grits out into an even layer.
I allowed the grits to come to room temperature. After that I covered the grits with aluminum foil and placed them in the refrigerator overnight.
- Cutting Cold Grits into Rounds
The next day, I removed the grits from the refrigerator. I used a 2-inch round cutter to cut 20 rounds of grits. I discarded the remaining scraps of grits.
I placed the grits rounds onto a sheet pan that I had lined with non-stick aluminum foil.
- Baking the Grits Rounds
I brushed the tops of the grits rounds with some melted butter. Then, I baked them in a 350°F oven for about 35 minutes.
Although the grits rounds were firm, I added the step of baking them to remove any residual moisture. I could have also fried the grits rounds.
- Cooking the Shrimp
With the grits rounds taken care of, I turned my attention to cooking the shrimp.
I started by heating some olive oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter was melted, I added the garlic. I cooked the garlic for 30 seconds until it was fragrant.
Then, I added the Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, salt and fresh lemon juice. I stirred to combine all of the ingredients.
Next, I added some of the shrimp and cooked them for several minutes per side. I transferred the cooked shrimp to a paper towel lined plate and cooked the remaining shrimp.
- Assembling the Shrimp and Grits Bites
I allowed both the grits rounds and the shrimp to come to room temperature.
I started by inserting an Italian parsley leaf to a bamboo knotted pick. Then, I inserted the pick into the flesh right above the tail shell, and into the main part of the shrimp.
To add some color to the Shrimp and Grits Bites, I placed a baby Spinach leaf on top of the grits round, and topped it with the skewered shrimp.
The Shrimp and Grits Bites made an amazing appetizer that was a flavorful as it was beautiful to look at. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Quick Grits will work fine in this recipe. Since Quick Grits cooks more quickly than Stone-Ground Grits, reduce the cooking time.
Either Cheddar cheese or Velveeta cheese will work fine in this recipe. Alternatively, you can omit the cheese all together.
If you’re unable to get fresh shrimp, you can use frozen shrimp. Make sure that the shrimp are on the large size though.
I love fried grits as well. Sometimes when I make this appetizer, I will pan fry the grits rounds in some butter as opposed to baking them. Sometimes, I will bread the grits rounds in flour then in an egg/milk mixture and then in breadcrumbs and then fry the breaded grits rounds. These are super yummy!
Other Shrimp and Grits Recipes
If you’re a fan of Shrimp and Grits, check out these amazing recipes.
- Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits: Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits is an easy to prepare but elegant dish to serve for any occasion. Succulent fresh shrimp are cooked to perfection in a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce. Ordinary grits are taken to new heights with the addition of not only Boursin cheese but also smoked Gouda cheese.
- Grits à Ya Ya: Grits à Ya Ya, made famous by the Fish House in Pensacola, takes cheesy smoked Gouda grits and tops it with perfectly seasoned shrimp and a creamy spinach and mushroom sauce. As an added bonus, finish it with a garnish of fried carrot strings just like the Fish House does.
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Shrimp and Grits Bites
Smoked Gouda Grits
- 5 cups water
- ¼ cup (2 ounces, ½ stick) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups stone ground grits (See Tip 1)
- 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Smoked Gouda cheese (See Tip 2)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (See Tip 3)
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 20 Italian Parsley leaves (See Tip 4)
- 20 Baby Spinach leaves
- 20 knotted bamboo picks (See Tip 5)
Smoked Gouda Grits
- Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan or 9 x 13-inch dish with non-stick aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Add water, butter, salt and pepper to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add grits; stir to combine. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer grits, stirring occasionally for 25 minutes or until thick and creamy. (See Tip 6)
- Add shredded cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Cook over medium-low heat for an additional 5 minutes.
- Transfer to prepared sheet pan; spread to an even layer. Allow to come to room temperature. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lift chilled grits and foil from sheet pan. Cut grits into 20 2-inch rounds. Discard grits scraps or use for another recipe.
- Place grits rounds on a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven. (See Tip 7)
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, salt and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
- Working in batches, add shrimp being careful to not overcrowd. Cook for several minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining shrimp. (See Tip 8)
- Insert a bamboo pick into parsley leaf and then into each shrimp. Place spinach leaf on grits round; insert skewered shrimp into grits round. Arrange the appetizers attractively on a serving plate and serve with lemon wedges.
- Yield: 20 Shrimp and Grits Bites.
- You may also use quick grits in this recipe. Do not, however, use Instant grits.
- Rather than Smoked Gouda cheese, feel free to use cheddar cheese or Velveeta cheese.
- I like to use Emeril’s Essence for the Creole seasoning.
- The Italian parsley is just for a garnish. You can use fresh oregano, rosemary or other fresh herb of your choice. You can also omit the garnish all together.
- I like the way that the knotted bamboo picks look. However, you can use any other party-type pick that you have on hand.
- The grits will be very thick which is what you want in this recipe even though it will continue to thicken as it cools.
- The reason for baking the grits rounds is to further firm them up. You can also pan fry the grits rounds in some butter rather than baking them.
- Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. The reason is that overcooked shrimp becomes tough.