When my husband and I honeymooned in Jamaica, we immediately felt a connection with the people, the island, and the culture. Oh, and the food! Ox tail, ackee and saltfish, curried goat, fresh caught lobsters, banana fritters. A Foodie’s paradise.
It was bliss. We loved it so much that we returned to the same place every year we could, creating connections, forming friendships, and making irreplaceable memories. We met so many amazing people, including a couple of families from the UK. They became fast friends and remain a beautiful part of our lives to this day. For our ten-year anniversary, we returned once again. Joined by our UK friends, we renewed our vows to love each other despite all of life’s challenges and we danced to Underneath the Mango Tree every chance we got.
Knowing how much I cherished “our” beloved island, my friend Ley suggested I read the book An Embarrassment of Mangoes. I did and loved it. It emoted a truly visceral sense of the islands. And even better, there were recipes! The dish below came from Chapter 3(ish). I spotlighted some silky smooth grits and meaty Shiitake mushrooms and it was an instant hit. Mmm, I might just have to read that book again…
Low-Country Shrimp & Grits
For the Shrimp
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ¼ pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1-1½ pounds shrimp, shelled & deveined
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- salt & pepper
- hot sauce, optional
- Add a few crumbled slices of bacon to the cooked shrimp mixture.
- ½ green pepper instead of red pepper and add 2-3 cups fresh tomatoes when you sauté the veggies. Cook for 5 minutes or so to thicken the sauce before adding the shrimp.
For the Grits
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
Sauté onion and garlic in butter or oil until soft. Add mushrooms and red pepper and sauté until mushrooms sweat out. Add shrimp and sauté 2-5 minutes, until just done, turning just opaque inside. Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley and season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce as desired.
In the meantime, cook the grits. Bring milk and water to a boil, then slowly add grits and salt, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until grits are thickened, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and a few dashes of hot sauce (if desired), then season to taste. Spoon shrimp over grits and serve.