Recipe Renovation: Carlton’s Shrimp and Grits

General Tso's Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken

If you love a certain type of food or have a favorite dish, it’s always fun to find out which restaurant makes the best.  For awhile, I was in search of the best General Tso’s Chicken (it was New Peking in Westport) Then, I was in search of the best crab cakes (it was Avenues Bistro) .

Lobster and Crab Cakes

Lobster and Crab Cakes (photo credit: Carlton Logan)

Then, it was the best fried calamari (Ingredient).

Calamari

Fried Calamari from Ingredient (photo credit: Carlton Logan)

Lately, it’s shrimp and grits.  I recently tried this dish at Louie’s Wine Dive in Brookside – it was GOOD.  But even better? Rye takes it to a whole new level…creamy, cheesy, almost-smooth grits… perfectly cooked shrimp… and flavorful pulled pork!

But I wanted to create my own  (lighter) version.  Traditionally, this Southern dish has lots of fat and sodium.  One recipe I found has 574 calories, 37 grams of fat and almost 1,600 mg of sodium.  So the challenge was to create my own recipe, keeping the richness and flavor and decreasing all the bad stuff.

C's shrimp and cheese grits

My lighter version of shrimp and grits

Carlton’s Lighter Shrimp and Grits

Serves 6 people

Grits:

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 ½ cups of low sodium, low-fat chicken stock (I use Trader Joe’s Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup of uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Shrimp

  • 2 slices of low sodium bacon
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped or minced garlic
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 pound raw, deveined  shrimp (26/30 or 30/35 count)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1/3 cup of sliced scallions

1. Bring water, stock and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk in grits; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cover. Keep warm.

2. Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Add white onion, garlic, and tomatoes to pan; cook 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown , stirring frequently. Add shrimp and red pepper; cook 3 minutes. Combine stock and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add broth/flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve shrimp mixture with grits.  Top with green onions and crumbled bacon.

Nutritional Analysis

  • Calories: 237.4
  • Total Fat: 8.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: .7g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 129.1mg
  • Sodium: 343.9
  • Potassium: 204.1mg
  • Total Carbs: 19.8g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
  • Sugars: 1.2g
  • Protein: 22.7g
  • Vitamin A: 8.4%
  • Vitamin B-12: 16.6%
  • Vitamin B-6: 5.6%
  • Vitamin C: 7.0%
  • Vitamin D: 28.7%
  • Calcium: 15.8%
  • Etc.

Variations:

  • Omitting the bacon will reduce the fat and sodium.  Or if you don’t want to omit the bacon, turkey bacon might be a healthier alternative.  Just cook it long enough to crisp it.  Bacon in this recipe adds flavor and texture.  But also keep in mind, if you use bacon, it renders very little fat.  You may want to consider a tablespoon of olive oil to saute the onions.
  • Substituting 2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese in the grits results will lose 20 calories, 2 grams of fat and about 75 mg of sodium
  • Substituting 1 cup of low sodium shredded Cheddar cheese for the Parmesan will increase calories by about 30, increase fat by 2 grams and increase the sodium by 100 mg
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