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Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits

Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits ~ One small bite at a time.

I’m not sure where to begin with this one.  I was fumbling around the kitchen one Saturday afternoon, clearly making no headway on dinner.   An ensuing melt-down in the making (doesn’t happen often but apparently there are precursors).  To head it off, I was given a challenge.  “Forget dinner.  You have one hour to create an appetizer, something you’ve never made before.  Then we’ll decide about dinner.”

Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits

Two hours later :) I presented Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits.

Not that it takes two hours to prepare this dish, but it took two hours to develop the plan and execute.  I’ve seen other bloggers refer to themselves as ‘recipe developers,’ I’m beginning to understand what that means.

When I presented crispy panko crusted shrimp, individual ‘heart shaped’ cheddar grit cakes, each topped with a spoonful of slightly spicy and very flavorful sauce, he gave me the look.  The one that says, I’m not exactly sure how these dishes come together but I’m glad they do.

Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits

I don’t recall if we even had dinner that night, but I do remember that Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits, were thoroughly enjoyed one small bite at a time.

Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits

Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits {one small bite at a time}

Libby with Lemony Thyme
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer
Servings 6


For the grits…

  • 1 cup yellow corn grits Polenta – not instant
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbl. butter
  • 1 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated

For the sauce…

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 Tbl. reserved bacon fat
  • 2 shallot fine diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3-4 Tbl. Frank’s hot sauce to taste
  • 1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbl. fresh parsley minced
  • Salt & freshly cracked pepper

For the shrimp…

  • 24 medium shrimp about 1/2 lb., peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Canola oil for frying


For the grits…

  • In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, stirring frequently for 20 minutes or until grits are tender. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Oil a 9″x9″ or 11″x7″ pan. Pour in cooked grits and allow to cool at least 15 minutes (prepare sauce at this time). Turn grits out onto a flat surface. Use a small cookie cutter to cut 24 individual grit cakes. Arrange on a shallow baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle tops of each cake with grated cheese. Reserve. Just before serving, place cakes under the broiler to melt the cheese.

For the sauce…

  • Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove and drain, reserving 1 Tbl. bacon fat. Saute shallot over medium-low heat until soft, add in garlic saute another minute. Add wine, allow to simmer 3-4 minutes then add chicken broth, lemon juice, and scallions. Allow mixture to gently simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, until reduced by at least half. Stir in crumbled crispy bacon. Reserve.

For the shrimp…

  • Arrange 3 dishes for coating the shrimp. Combine flour with seasoning in a medium covered bowl or zipper bag. Beat egg in second dish. Place panko crumbs in third dish. Line shallow baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat shrimp dry, then toss in seasoned flour. Individually dip each shrimp in egg, then into crumbs, then place on baking sheet.
  • To fry the shrimp, add enough canola oil to a deep pan and heat to 375 degrees. Fry shrimp in small batches until golden brown. Drain on a brown bag.

To assemble…

  • For each serving plate a cheddar grit cake, topped with a spoonful of warm sauce, and a crispy fried shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.


To serve this appetizer to a larger group, prepare the grit cakes and sauce ahead of time. Individually bread the shrimp then refrigerate until ready to fry. When it’s time to assemble, grit cakes can be warmed in the oven and plated when the shrimp are ready to serve.
Deconstructed Shrimp & Grits
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