southern comfort

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Fish and Seafood, Dinner Party, Posted on February 10, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)

Growing accustom to my southern environs I find myself leaning into their creature comforts. While dressing for the grocery store continues to throw me for a loop, the prospect of grits on the menu has been a delight. In Minnesota you were lucky if your cream of wheat had a sparse sprinkling of brown sugar and perhaps a dab of oleo. In contrast grits are often laden with butter and cheese offering up the most welcoming down-home how-do-you-dos.

My husband and I often frequent Meadowlark, our favorite Dayton restaurant. A real treat is their brunch. On a recent Sunday morning we later confessed that we wished we had ordered the shrimp and grits. An oversight we quickly rectified by having a few fellow Northern transplants over for cozy supper.


Being a newbie to grits I did a little research on the internet and found a fascinating version using quick grits and evaporated milk. A creamy promise fulfilled in 25 minutes. And after a test run I discovered that they can be made an hour in advance (just hold off on adding the cheese).

sharp cheddar

Right before serving gently reheat and stir in grated sharp cheddar.


Bacon can be sautéed earlier too and left to drain on paper towel.


Save two tablespoons of the drippings in the sauté pan.

shrimp and grits

Sauté the mushrooms and onions until just golden, then add the bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and two cups tomatoes until tender. This too can be made an hour ahead and tented with foil at room temp.

shrimp and grits

Right before serving reheat the vegetables, add the shrimp, hot sauce and remaining cup of tomatoes. Sauté until just pink. Spoon over the hot cheesy grits and sprinkle with bacon. This southern version tops its northern counterpart hands down.

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