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The Shaw's Mediterranean Shrimp and Grits

We have always liked the Mediterranean shrimp at the Mediterranean Cafe on Main Street in Lexington, S. C. and see the following as our "take" on that dish.

What's needed (for 4 adults, light eaters...true measurement precision is not needed):

  • meat (shrimp): 1 pound (approximately 16 ounces or 473 grams) small, medium, large, or jumbo-sized fresh or frozen raw shrimp...we prefer large or jumbo (though we suspect that bought-cooked shrimp would be fine). Avoid shrimp being tough due to overcooking, drop them in boiling water kept very hot for at least five minutes (until the shrimp turn good and pink). Then remove and put on a bed of ice cubes to halt any further "cooking". After cooled, shell all but the tail segment from the shrimp if you think you'd prefer something to hold each shrimp buy as you eat each one. Reserve the shrimp.
  • oil (sautee): a tablespoon (2-3 "pats") of stick margarine or butter.
  • liquid (soup broth): 1 can of chicken broth (about 14.5 ounces...411 grams).
  • to be sauteed: chopped parsley (1/2 cup), chopped onion small onion (1/2 cup), chopped garlic, fresh or bottled chopped ( 1 to 3 tablespoons), and chopped jalapeno (1/3 cup), and 1-2 tablespoons feta cheese. Now, having heated the pan, then add a table-spoon (2-3 "pats") of margerine or butter. When melted and hot, add the garlic, chopped onions, chopped parsley, and chopped jalapenos & sautee 5 minutes, constantly stirring. [We have not tried this yet: to enhance the shrimp-taste of the "grits" mix, take 1-4 cooked & completely shelled shrimp; add to some of the sauteed & grits mix & puree & add back to the sautee mix.]
  • broth filler (grits): we save small bags of left-over cooked grits (coarse-ground preferred). We add at least 1 cup and up to 3 cups to the broth (you can make it as thick or as thin as you like). We often have pita bread to use with one's serving to sop up the juice left in one's serving bowl.
  • seasoning: we only salt to taste; we sprinkle some feta cheese and some black olives to each person's liking with their serving; and we chop about 1/3 cup of fresh tomato to add with the salt. Optional: add 1 or 2 dashes of Tabasco hot sauce, or Texas Pete hot sauce, or Sriracha hot chili sauce, or a pinch of French's ground red pepper or a pinch cayenne pepper, or some of your favorite Mediterranian spices. Experiment as you like.


  1. Sauteed ingredients: to this, add the can of broth & stir briefly.
  2. Then add the can of broth to (1).
  3. Then add the grits & stir to suspend in the mixture and keep all hot.
  4. Then add seasoning & chopped tomato, still keeping hot.
  5. Finally, add the cold shrimp and stir & then simmer on low about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serve in bowls with soup spoons.Have feta cheese & black olives so that each can add to taste. And, we have pita bread as a side or to add as pieces into the bowl, if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

Other recipes: Our "standard" since 1998 as to excellent Southern Coastal shrimp and grits is what is served at Sweetwater Cafe on Market Street in Charleston, S. C. It is a mildly dark tasso-type gravy with cooked onions. In early 2015, we encountered an outsanding sweet variant that contained whole kernel corn and...we think...a covering of mildly thickened sweetened cream or half-and-half (the Flagler Fish Company located a block from the beach in Flagler Beach, Florida). Jack's Place in the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida, does a spicey variety of shrimp & grits in which the grits have a mild hint of hot sauce "heat" (there is no "gravy"). The cooked shrimp are situated evenly on the surface and a small dollop of blue cheese is melted on the surface center. In Never Blue in Hendersonville, N. C., whole shrimp are over grits that are slightly cheesy, and the broth appears to be a mix of heavy cream and a New Orleans like gravy (Tasso) with smoked gouda and with its Tasso "ham" meat ground up. It is garnished with leeks and some sort of dried flakes said to be sea weed and excessive wedges of yellow peppers. For 48 hours, we thought we had a new "standard"; but, Sweetwater's is still it. In July 2016, we had the dish at Pages Okra Grill in Mt. PLeasant, S. C. Though different than Sweetwater Cafe, the quality is on a parr (it is a shrimp containing Cajun-like gravy around two good-sized triangles of of grits, superficially fried)! Another very good variant has almost a tomato gravy sauce over the shrimp and grits at Lowcountry Bistro. An outsanding, mildly tasso gravy type is at Eli's Table. The variant at Granary in Mt. Pleasant has gravy similar to Sweetwater Cafe but containng strips of onion and sweet peppers and topped with cubes of pork belly like dry cured ham cubes so that the meet is about 50:50 shrimp and ham. In Oct. 2017, we had the dish at The Refuge at Isle of Palms centerred on a soft grits cake and with outstanding taste! In Nov. 2017, we taste a variant at Bistro on the Boulevard in Irmo, S. C. that was shrimp coated with a mild amount of a type of barbecue sauce and arranged atop white grits (OK).

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(posted 9 September 2014; updated 10 November 2017)