Date Night Shrimp and Grits

Date Night Shrimp and Grits

I love classic comfort foods. There is just something so gratifying about making a good ol’ Southern classic. The best thing about these date night shrimp and grits is that they can easily be cooked on a busy weeknight as well. All you need is 60 minutes, at the most!!

I’ve dubbed this a date night meal because we’re pulling out all the stops with this dish. The shrimp are brined. Pancetta is crisped and then the shrimp are cooked in in the rendered fat. And it all served with a spicy cajun butter. All of these step are key extracting as much flavor as we can. Also, don’t forget to pair this meal with a nice glass of white wine!

Saute shrimp

Tips for preparing the Shrimp and Grits

  • Buy deveined shrimp – Okay, so you don’t actually need to buy the deveined shrimp but it saves you so much time and effort.
  • Shred the cheese beforehand – Again, getting all your ingredients ready to go will pay dividends when cooking.
  • Pick out a nice bottle of wine – This meal goes well with a dry pinot prigio or a sauvignon blanc.
Date night shrimp and grits

Cooking Tips

  • Don’t overcook the shrimp – There is nothing worse than rubbery, dried out shrimp. They only need a 1 – 2 minutes per side and they are fully cooked.
  • Add the cheese at the end – Add the cheese to the grits at the end when it’s off heat. This will ensure the cheese doesn’t get grainy!
  • Don’t burn the pancetta – It does not turn the dark brown like bacon does so make sure you don’t burn it. That won’t be pleasant for date night!
Date Night Shrimp and Grits
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Date Night Shrimp and Grits

We're taking this dish up a notch and pulling out all the stops for these Date Night Shrimp and Grits
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grits, shrimp, shrimp and grits
Servings: 4
Cost: 20


For the shrimp and brine

  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • Rind from 1 lemon
  • 6 cups ice

For the grits

  • 1 cup stone ground grits
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

For the cajun butter

  • 1 stick butter divided
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • Juice from whole lemon
  • ½ – 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoing depending on your heat tolerance
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Other Ingredients

  • ¼ pound panchetta diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons blackening seasoning
  • chopped parsley for garnish


For the shrimp brine

  • In a small pot over high heat, bring the water, sugar, salt, garlic, black peppercorns, and lemon to boil. Add the ice and cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, add the shrimp and pour the cooled brine over the top. Brine for 30 minutes. In the mean time, prepare the grits and Cajun butter.

For the grits

  • Over medium heat, in a medium, heavy bottomed pot, bring the chicken stock and milk to a bare simmer.
  • Afterwards, turn the heat down to medium low and while whisking continually, slowly add the grits. Add the salt.
  • Whisk every couple minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the grits are tender. This should take about 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Once fully cooked. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and cheese. Mix to combine. Place pot in oven or microwave to keep warm while preparing the shrimp.

For the Cajun butter

  • In a small pan over medium heat, add one tablespoon of butter.
  • Once melted, add the garlic and cook for 30 – 60 seconds. Then add the lemon juice, remaining butter and Cajun seasoning.
  • Cook until all the butter in melting a starting to bubble. Then remove from heat and add the parsley.

To cook the shrimp

  • Remove the shrimp from the brine and dry with a paper towel. Season with the blackening seasoning.
  • In a large pan over medium heat, add the diced pancetta and cook until crispy (about 5 minutes)
  • Remove the pancetta to a plate but leave the rendered fat in the pan. Add the additional butter.
  • Once the butter has melted, cook the shrimp (in batches if needed). They will cook quickly and only take about 2 – 3 minutes per side

Final Plating

  • Once the shrimp have cooked, add the grits to a bowl/plate and top with the shrimp, pancetta, Cajun butter and garnish with parsley. Then enjoy with a nice glass of wine.