Make Shrimp and Grits in a Muffin Tin for Bite-Sized Southern Goodness

Creamy polenta makes the perfect base for this take on shrimp and grits. 

Photo by: Savour Imagery LLC

Savour Imagery LLC

Using a muffin tin to make these shrimp and grits bites means they're pre-portioned and ready for guests. Make ahead and serve at room temperature, or heat in a low oven just before the party.  

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

The Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined (Tip: Buy them peeled and deveined in at the supermarket fish counter or freezer section.)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato, diced

The Instructions

Grease muffin tin. Line each greased cavity with plastic wrap. NOTE: If you are using a silicone muffin pan, you can omit this step. Set aside.

Bring water to a full boil. Slowly pour in polenta while continuously whisking to avoid any lumps. Reduce heat to low. Continue cooking for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened and smooth.

Remove from heat and add cheese, salt and pepper. Stir to fully combine.

Immediately divide the polenta evenly over the 12 cavities of the muffin tin.

Use the edge of a rubber spatula to level off the tops. Cover the tops with more plastic wrap and place the muffin tin in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop bacon into small pieces and cook over medium heat in a large skillet until crispy. Drain bacon and set aside. Discard excess bacon fat.

Place the shrimp in the same pan over medium high heat. Cook until browned and cooked through (about 3-4 minutes on each side). Remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, scallions, lime juice and pepper flakes to a medium bowl. Whisk to fully combine. Add the tomatoes and set aside. Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and uncover. Use a melon baller or teaspoon to make a well in the center of each of the polenta cups.

Stir the tomatoes and then drain away the excess liquid. Add the bacon to the tomatoes and toss lightly. Place a spoonful of the tomato bacon mixture into each of the polenta cups. Add a shrimp to the top of the tomato bacon mixture in each cup. Serve immediately with excess tomato bacon mixture on the side, or refrigerate for up to 1 day and let warm to room temperature before serving. 

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