BLT Shrimp and Grits

Serves 4

I try to keep cooked grits in the freezer, particularly for what I call desperation meals. I defrost them in the microwave.

It’s not necessary to be exact about this recipe, which makes it a good one to remember when time is of the essence. The shrimp and grits deliver flavor as well as texture. The bacon garnish adds crunch, and the whole dish, including the scallions and arugula, is pretty enough to serve to company. If scallions are not available, garnish with chives or some other fresh herb — parsley, basil, whatever is in season or available.

Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients

2 cups cooked grits with a bit of butter added

6 strips bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces

1 pound small shrimp, peeled

2 garlic cloves, chopped (optional)

3 thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts separated (optional)

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and sliced into strips

Salt

Cayenne pepper or white pepper

Arugula or herbs for garnish (optional)

Directions

Stir the hot grits and butter to combine. Saute the bacon until crisp. Remove one-third of the bacon, drain, and set aside as a garnish. Add the shrimp, garlic, scallion whites and tomatoes to the remaining bacon and grease. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp.

Divide the grits into four bowls, spoon the shrimp and sauce over the grits; garnish with the scallion greens, arugula or herbs if using and reserved crumbled bacon; and serve.

Nathalie Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, most recently “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathalie dupree.com.