Food Thursday: Looking for Creole shrimp, grits and greens

There seems to be a growing popularity in Savannah, where I try to spend as much of the winter as I can (on my favorite island just off its beautiful shores), of shrimp delicately sautéed in a spicy Creole sauce, ladled over a pair of grit patties and surrounded by collard greens cooked just enough to still have their full flavor but not soggy. Let me say I really dislike soggy greens. If you’re not careful, especially in the South, you might find your plate heaped with collard greens that have been overcooked so long, the greens are a breath away from being total mush.

The first time I had this dish was at City Market Cafe, located in Savannah’s historic district. The collard greens were cooked just right. Their shrimp Creole sauce is a perfect balance of spice and flavor, and compliments the rest of the dish instead of overpowering it.

I’ve also had this dish at a restaurant that served it with spinach sautéed in a garlic sauce. That was awesome. It was Vic’s on the River — one of my top favorite places. Spinach is less robust than collard greens and lightens up the dish, but it is equally delicious. A great appetizer — if you need one — is fried green tomatoes. 

One part of this dish that is often overlooked is the grits patty. The grits shouldn’t have any lumps, in my opinion, if you’re going to cook them again as a patty. My solution is to use heavy cream (deadly on the hips) in preparing the grits. I’ve also noticed that this isn’t a dish one should order just before a restaurant is closing down it’s kitchen to prepare for the dinner crowd. I made that mistake. The grits patty was a bit dry and lumpy.

So here I am back in New England, enjoying another spring. I’m looking for a recipe for this dish. Anybody have one? Please share your favorite way to enjoy Creole shrimp, grits and greens.

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