To make a classic shrimp and grits preparation, one first needs the shrimp and grits. Other possible ingredients include a variety of aromatics, such as onion and garlic, as well as a variety of fat sources, acids (such as lemon juice), vegetables and other condiments.
The shrimp should be peeled, cleaned and deveined before beginning. Grits can be coarse or stone-ground and prepared with water (unless stock or broth is substituted). The grits are boiled until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 20 to 35 minutes. While many recipes call for garlic and onion, other possible aromatics include celery, variously-colored bell peppers and scallions. The predominant cheese used in shrimp and grits is shredded sharp cheddar.
Some recipes amplify flavor by adding another meat or fat source, such as bacon or andouille sausage. Both offer the grits a smoky element, while the latter also adds a further layer of flavor consistent with the dish's southern roots. For increased heat, consider adding dried, ground cayenne pepper or a readily available hot sauce. If veggies are desired, mushrooms stand up well to the preparation. Finally, to further beautify the finished dish, adorn with garnishes such as fresh chopped parsley or lemon wedges.