The classic southern Shrimp and Grits dish gets a west coast makeover with the use of seasonal spot prawns! Spot prawns are in season for a few weeks out of the year and there are so many recipes to make!
These Spot Prawns and Grits should be on your list of recipes as they are sweet and flavourful from my own spice blend. Served with a luscious gravy and cheesy grits, it is comfort food at it’s finest.
Serve this recipe with Blue Grouse Winery’s Estate Pinot Gris, and you have the perfect wine pairing that compliments these spicy spot prawns so well!
Comfort Food at it’s Finest
Shrimp and Grits is the classic dish that this recipe is based on. It is a popular in New Orleans and the lowcountry in the southern United States, and is comfort food in it’s finest! This dish was classically a fisherman’s breakfast, but now it has morphed into a main dish for lunch or dinner.
White corn grits form the base of the dish and are topped with shrimp and gravy. The gravy often consists of onions, peppers, pork, flour (to thicken) and chicken stock. Some of the most popular meat additions include bacon, sausage, or diced ham. I left my recipe pork-free to let the flavours of the spot prawns shine through!
A variety of spices can also be added to this recipe to add a bit of heat and lots of flavour. Cayenne, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, bay leaf, onion powder and garlic powder are some of the most popular spices to add to this recipe. I use a variety of these spices, plus a few more in my recipe below!
A Southern Recipe with a West Coast Twist
While traditional Shrimp and Grits is typically made with tiger shrimp, I swap those out for local and seasonal spot prawns!
Spot prawns are in season for a few weeks in May here on the west coast, and I always have to get my hands on them every year! They are sweet, succulent and more tender than tiger shrimp. The spot prawns work so well in this recipe as the sweetness of the prawns balance out the flavour and heat from the spices.
Where to Buy
If you are on the west coast, there are many retailers that supply spot prawns when they are in season. They are so fresh as they are harvested from the Pacific Ocean right next to us, so you know these are some of the highest quality and freshest seafood around!
Here in Victoria, I like to buy my spot prawns from two local seafood shops: Finest at Sea and Oak Bay Seafood. They both follow sustainable fishing practices and have amazing fresh (and frozen) spot prawns readily available when they are in season.
The prices of spot prawns fluctuate from year to year, but this year I have seen whole spot prawns for $18/pound up to $40/pound for the tails only! Shop around to find the best price in your area!
Get the Recipe!
Spicy Spot Prawns & Grits
For the Grits:
- 3 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 1 cup white corn grits
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons butter
For the Spot Prawns:
- 1 pound spot prawns deveined, tails on
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper diced
- 1/4 cup shallots finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chicken broth low sodium
- ¼ cup Blue Grouse Estate Pinot Gris
- ¼ cup chives finely chopped, for garnish
- Lemon slices for garnish
For the Grits:
- Begin by making the grits. Bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Add the salt to the pot, followed by the grits.
- Reduce the heat to medium and use a whisk to stir the grits into the chicken stock until combined. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the grits from the heat and fold in the cheddar cheese and butter. Once fully combined, cover and set aside while you prepare the spot prawns.
For the Spot Prawns:
- Add the peeled and deveined spot prawns to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of paprika with the cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, smoked paprika, oregano and thyme. Mix all the spices to combine.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of the spot prawns, then sprinkle the spice mix over top. Use your hands to mix the spot prawns with the spice mix, making sure that all the spot prawns are evenly coated.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the spot prawns to the pan. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side until fully cooked. Remove the spot prawns from the pan as set aside for later.
- Next, make the gravy. Add the shallot, red bell pepper and green bell pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes, or until the shallot and peppers have softened.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour to the pan and stir until combined. Cook for 2 minutes to remove the floury taste.
- Next, add the chicken broth, wine and 2 teaspoons of paprika to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and stir until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.
- To serve, add the grits to a plate, top with the gravy and the cooked spot prawns. Garnish with a sprinkle of chives and a wedge of lemon. Enjoy!
- If you cannot find white corn grits, you can also use polenta (ground yellow cornmeal). Simply use the same ratios as the white corn grits: 3 cups of chicken stock to 1 cup polenta. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.