Friday, December 9, 2011

Pan-Fried Cheese Grits Cakes with Lemon and Olive Oil Marinated Shrimp

I have been having fun pan-frying lately what with the Schnitzel, goat cheese rounds and catfish. With the right sized item, it really is a pretty quick and easy method of cooking. Plus, there is a real satisfying crunch and texture to something that has been breaded with Panko crumbs and then fried in really hot oil.

The catfish strips from the other day inspired me to make another southern-inspired dish. I had entered an idea for a different take on shrimp and grits in that contest using California Olive Ranch and Bob's Red Mill products. I had come across this delicious-looking recipe from Food & Wine for shrimp marinated in lemon and olive oil that I thought would be nice with cheese grits cakes.

Pan-Fried Cheese Grits Cakes with Lemon and Olive Oil Marinated Shrimp

Serves 2 as an appetizer


  • 4 large cooked shrimp
  • lemon from half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup stone ground corn grits
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay
  • 1/2 - 1 cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • soft breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil


  1. Make the cheese grits by bringing 1 cup of lightly salted water to boil and add the corn grits, lowering the heat to low. Stir frequently to be sure that it doesn't stick. Careful, like oatmeal, bubbles might burst out and splatter you with wicked-hot starchy grain. 
  2. After about 10 minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay. Stir well and let cook another 15 - 20 minutes.
  3. Once it has cooked through and is the thickness you like, add the shredded extra-sharp cheddar, starting with 1/2 cup and adding up to 1 cup to suit your taste - I used about 3/4 cup. Stir well to let the cheese melt, then remove from heat. 
  4. Place a long piece of waxed paper in a plastic container so that the ends hang out of the sides - this will let you remove the grits easily when they've set up - pour the grits into the container and out in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  5. Mix together the cooked shrimp in the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, basil and salt and pepper. Let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
  6. When you are ready to make the grits cakes, set up 4 bowls, one with flour, one with a beaten egg, one with panko mixed with thyme and basil, and one with soft breadcrumbs.
  7. Take the grits out of the fridge and lift them out of the container and set them on a cutting board. Cut out rounds using a a biscuit cutter and dredge them in flour, dip in beaten egg, and then passing through the breadcrumbs, first the panko and then the soft crumbs, to fill in the gaps that the panko crumbs missed.
  8. Fry in hot peanut oil until golden brown on both sides, drain on a paper towel and then serve with the marinated shrimp.

A closer look...

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