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Pairing Shrimp and Grits with Chardonnay

Pairing Shrimp and Grits with Chardonnay

Fresh shrimp, rich grits, and a wine to match both

Are there many dishes more iconic to the South than shrimp and grits? This Low Country favorite combines the fresh, ocean-breeze taste of shrimp with the rich, comforting soul of grits cooked with plenty of butter and cheese. What to pour in your glass to accompany these classic flavors? How about a chardonnay?

Unlike more delicate seafood, shrimp can handle a wine with some weight and oak (as is the case with many chardonnays). When you add in the decadent amounts of butter and cheese in many grits recipes, it’s clearly no time for a feathery-light wine. Francophiles can look to rich examples of chardonnay from that country’s most famous chardonnay location: Burgundy. Try a bottle from the village of Meursault; these wines tend to be opulent.

Of course, still chardonnays are not your only option. Shrimp and grits would be fantastic with sparkling wine, and a blanc de blancs sparkler or champagne fits within the chardonnay category. Yeasty characteristics provided by a secondary fermentation in the bottle make any blanc de blancs a memorable match. And the high acidity and delightful bubbles provide a refreshing counterpart to all that richness. Of course, if you are a hedonist, why not have both a still chardonnay and a blanc de blancs on your table?

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Recipe Note

Grits – we used yellow grits for making them read the back and follow the directions for the portion amount you are wanting to cook. Instead of using water use chicken broth and let the uncooked grits and chicken broth sit for a few hours before turning the stove on. When ready to start cooking add 1 cup of Heavy whipping cream and lots of Everglades All Purpose. Cook the grits over medium high heat till they start to boil. Remove from heat and stir well. You might need to add more chicken broth at this stage – use your best judgement. Add 8 oz of freshly grated parmesan cheese, ½ cup heavy whipping cream, and parsley. Mix together and serve them up.


Chardonnay Food Pairings Recipes

Looking for inspiration on foods to pair with Chardonnay? Here’s a collection of our “greatest hits” to inspire your next dinner. These recipes have been created and tested to pair perfectly with our favorite white varietal.

Snacks, Salads and Appetizers

Greek Sweet Potato Fries
Roasting sweet potatoes concentrates their sweetness and caramelizes their natural sugars, making these a fantastic match for a toasty, ripe Chardonnay. This pairing is a terrific way to kick off to a fall or winter dinner. Serve the fries as finger food, with lots of napkins.
Wine match: La Crema Russian River Chardonnay

Winter White Salad
A creamy dressing, enriched with buttermilk and yogurt, gives this hearty salad the richness needed to stand up to Chardonnay. Apples and grapes make it fruity cauliflower adds substance and pine nuts echo the wine’s toasty notes.
Wine match: La Crema Monterey Chardonnay

Grilled Pumpkin Salad
Light, very dry whites would taste bitter with this sweet, smoky salad, but smoky Chardonnay makes a perfect partner.
Wine match: La Crema Monterey Chardonnay

Main Dishes

Southern Shrimp and Grits
Corn in almost any form is a natural match for Chardonnay’s inherent sweetness. Here, stone-ground grits give this dish a creamy texture that harmonizes with the wine’s silkiness. Mild, lemony shrimp make the perfect foil.
Wine match: La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Yogurt-Marinated Apricot Chicken Skewers
There’s just a touch of subtle spice in these chicken and apricot skewers. That calls for a crisp, fruity style of Chardonnay that can handle both spice and sweetness.
Wine match: La Crema Monterey Chardonnay

Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese
This hearty, luxurious dish calls for a rich, elegant Chardonnay that won’t get clobbered by its cheesy, buttery goodness.
Wine match: La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Herbed-Crusted Cod with a Pea Puree
Peas are incredibly sweet, and when they’re pureed they create a creamy, mild foil for fish or poultry that is divine with Chardonnay.
Wine match: La Crema Arroyo Seco Chardonnay

Honeycrisp Apple Pizza with Balsamic Onions
This pairing relies on a simple trick: Pick up Chardonnay’s appley flavors by using apples in the dish. Because the dish has some sweetness, it definitely needs a ripe, fruity style of Chardonnay.
Wine match: La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Mini Lobster Pot Pie
Adding corn kernels to this decadent pot pie makes it especially friendly to Chardonnay. A full-bodied, generously oaked version stands up beautifully to the dish’s sweet lobster, buttery sauce and puff pastry crust.
Wine match: La Crema Russian River Chardonnay


Southern Shrimp and Grits Topping

Author: Annie Reeves
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • juice of one lemon
  • 6-7 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until browned. Remove from pan (leaving the grease behind!) and crumble into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in bacon grease until translucent.
  3. Add diced red and green peppers and sauté until softened.
  4. Add bacon back into the skillet.
  5. Cover shrimp with lemon juice and add to skillet. Cook until pink.
  6. Serve over creamy stone-ground grits and enjoy!


Not too familiar with Picpoul? We’re not either but we’re learning!

After two outings in two months with this zesty, racy grape, we’re fast fans of this super acidic grape that is one of the thirteen allowed blending grapes in the Rhone’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Picpoul is also grown south of the Rhone in the Languedoc region, where it is one of the oldest domestic grape varieties. Because of its susceptibility to fungal diseases like powdery mildew and because it is low yielding, it fell out of favor,

But it is starting to show up in California thanks to Tablas Creek’s connections. Also known as “Piquepoul” among other names, it is being grown in southern Arizona at 5000 feet in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains Wilcox AVA . (Now THAT is an AVA after my own heart and definitely now on my radar– there’s some awesome birding there and wine? Bet there’s spring wildflowers going off too!), Iy’s also being grown in the Red Mountain AVA of eastern Washington State, in Sonoma, in Texas, and most recently in Australia! Sounds like it thrives in heat!

Last month, we tasted and wrote about Acquiesce’s ‘s picpoul and picpoul blend from Lodi. I know most people probably don’t think of Lodi as a cutting edge region for white wines, but Sue Tipton loves Rhone whites and specializes in them. When I visited her last June, I was fascinated and thrilled by this wine as well as her white blend that includes Picpoul so in anticipation of this month’s Winophiles investigation of the grape and how to pair it as well as our March focus on women who make wine, we broke into my stash.

That plus Sue’s research that suggested rich seafood with creamy sauces directed what to pair with these wines. When Sue saw the Wine Enthusiast March issue had a recipe for Crispy Soft Shell Crab, with Creamed Copes Corn, and Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc, we both thought that sounded delicious especially after last spring’s Beuerre Blanc and Chablis dinner! (Okay there were other things like lobster but the beurre blanc stole the show for me! So you KNOW we will be making this sometime soon — maybe with the 2015 Crozes-Hermitage “Les Meysonniers” Blanc that was sent by accident last month?)

But locating soft shell crab turned out to be too big of a challenge for either of us considering our challenging weeks and we just didn’t want to sub with fish so while that would have been a great pair, since we were not able to follow through with that recipe, Sue felt that shrimp and grits would be similar enough and that it would be a fun, similar, simple, and rewarding recipe since we were both ready for some “comfort” food!

Sue told me that if I wanted oysters I’d have to pick them up. As it had been an insanely busy week, I just wanted to head up to her house Friday after a work retreat (yep that was supposed to be relaxing but no, not even close with the week and day I had! At least I didn’t have to prepare breakfast or lunch and it was close enough to my house that I could run back and forth three times during the retreat…)

Anyway, so I passed on getting oysters, but once I tasted the wines, I got in my car and headed to Ojai’s West Ridge Market for them where I also picked up some housemade sausages for good measure to go with the red wines for our post about Tax Day wines.

What a delicious meal and great wines for a fun Friday with friends!

  • 2016 – Florensac – Picpoul
  • 2016 – Moulin de Gassac – Picpoul de Pinet
  • 2015 – Tablas Creek Vineyard – Esprit Blanc de Tablas

  • Brie and homemade kiwi jam
  • Creamy blue cheese and toasted pecan spread
  • Kumia Oysters from Baja California, Mexico
  • Colorful Chard Salad
    with beets, goat cheese, toasted pecans and a lemon honey vinegarette
  • Shrimp and Grits

We found that these wines would be great picnic wines– think chicken salad.

2016 – Florensac – Picpoul 12.5% alcohol
sample for our review consideration

Color: very pale, almost clear, light yellow with green.

Nose: vanilla, gardenia? citrus flowers, white flowers, honeysuckle, jasmine, very subtle but there.

Palate: racy acidity, very exciting in the front palate.

With oysters, the wine prepares your palette for the oyster, and the oyster receives the wine so nicely. With the shrimp and grits, this was a perfect pairing, the creaminess cuts through the racy acidity. They balance each other so beautifully. Sue felt that the wine paired very nicely with the chard salad also. The citrus and honey in the vinaigrette went well with the wine the chard has a lot of acidity, and the picpoul flies over everything — it is like a party in your mouth. They neutralize everything and get along so well together. The salad matched the racy acidity of the wine.

John did not want to move on to the second Picpoul he kept on with this one because it tasted so good!

2016 – Moulin de Gassac – Picpoul de Pinet – 12.5% alcohol
Sample for our review consideration

We thought both picpoul wines were very similar in character and taste, but when you spend time with them side by side you start to notice the differences in each.

Nose: more citrus and mineral and stone fruit.

Palate: smoother, lingering finish, flavor more on the back palate.

Surprisingly, as well as the other picpoul went with the dish, this one fought the shrimp and grits.

This wine was fine with the salad and shrimp and grits etc, but the other wine was better with our meal tonight.

2015 – Tablas Creek Vineyard – Esprit Blanc de Tablas – 13.0% alcohol – $30.00
Sue purchased at the winery with an industry discount
55% Roussanne, 28% Grenache Blanc, 17% Picpoul Blanc

As Sue was in the Paso Robles area over Spring break, and she had heard that Tablas Creek Vineyard makes a terrific Picpoul so she made a point of going to the tasting room where she learned the Picpoul was sold out, and the next vintage will be released around June. However, she was able to taste the Esprit Blanc de Tablas with Picpoul in it. She liked it so much she purchased a bottle for this Picpoul tasting.

As this is Earth Month, I’d like to point out that Tablas Creek is a leader in so many ways in California: bringing in Rhone grapes like picpoul certainly is awesome, but they are not only organic but biodynamic and will be participating in next month’s International Biodynamic Wine Conference in San Francisco and pouring at the Monday night tasting that is open to the public.

Nose: Honeycomb, honeysuckle this is a lovely, complex interesting wine.

Palate: Such a smooth mouthfeel, really well-balanced, twice the price, twice the pleasure. This is a decadent, wonderful wine that also went perfectly with the meal. The creamy richness of the shrimp brought out a lovely sweetness in the wine.

John liked this with the salad, again it brings out a sweetness in the wine it really went with the beets! This wine liked the bacon with the shrimp: the richness of the meal married nicely with this blend.

Bobby Flay’s Shrimp and Grits

Because onions and I are not great friends, Sue put the bright green scallions on top instead of cooking them in. Pretty and much easier for me to pick out although I wouldn’t have protested those especially cooked in with the garlic AND SHRIMP COOKED IN BACON? Where has that idea been all my life! Once you’ve had shrimp cooked in bacon, you may never go back.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

Directions

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.


Creole Shrimp and Grits

This Creole shrimp and grits recipe is super easy yet delicious! Shrimp and grits using quick grits (cook in 5 minutes) actually make a much creamier version of the southern corn dish. This savory dish is so popular there is even a Shrimp and Grits Festival Destin Fl.

Ingredients in this savory Shrimp and Grits recipe

Most of the ingredients in this dish are already in your pantry! You may need to find one or two items, but majority you should already have. For the bacon, if you have a very thick type only use 6 slices or your dish may be a little on the greasy side.

Bring the water to a boil and cook the grits with the salt on low for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cheese and a half stick of butter. Incorporate with a whisk, then cover and set aside. The grits are done!

Mix cheese and butter into cooked grits

Let's cook the shrimp!

The the chopped bacon and cook on a medium high heat until cooked through and slightly crispy. Remove the bacon from the grease then add the shrimp directly to the bacon grease along with the creole seasoning.

Cook only for 3 minutes on each side. Remove promptly.

Add the onions to the skillet, cook until soft then add the garlic to cook for a couple minutes. Add the flour and cook for a few more minutes.

Then slowly start to add the broth whisking all the time. Add the green onions and parsley. Followed by the cream.

Allow the sauce to cook together for a minute or so, add a little butter if desired.

Add a little more butter to grits if they need, before serving! Creole shrimp and grits are a regular on the Cagle table. Try this recipe and you'll see why.


Top pairings

A freezer staple in my house, prawns or shrimp are quick and easy to cook but what should you drink with them?

Like other ingredients it depends how you cook them. The simple plate or tankard of cooked prawns in the shell is a different customer from a spicy Thai prawn curry but in general prawns or shrimp have a delicate flavour that you want to respect. Your wine should act like a squeeze of lemon which generally points to a white or a crisp rosé.

Great wine pairings for prawns

Prawns or shrimp on the shell

A seasonal treat so the simpler the wine the better. I love those French seaside whites like Muscadet or Picpoul de Pinet with freshly cooked prawns. Italian whites like Pinot Grigio and Greco di Tufo also work well as do Vinho Verde, Albarino or a crisp Sancerre. Unoaked fresh whites in other words. Nothing wrong with a glass of prosecco though, obviously.

Prawn or shrimp salad

Similar wines to the above should also work unless the salad has a richer ingredient like mango or a spicy or zesty dressing in which case I&rsquod be looking for a white with more personality like a sauvignon or semillon or a blend of the two.

Prawn or shrimp cocktail

Again it&rsquos more about the sauce than the prawns, especially if it&rsquos the classic marie-rose sauce. I haven&rsquot found a better pairing than an off-dry riesling though a fruity rosé works well too (and has the virtue of being pink if you&rsquore colour-theming your pairings -)

Garlicky prawns or shrimp

Garlic LOVES sauvignon blanc so that&rsquos a good starting point. Other citrussy whites like Rueda, unoaked white Rioja, Godello, southern Italian whites like Fiano and Falanghina and English Bacchus will all work. Goodness, almost anything barring a big oaky chardonnay will do. Try manzanilla or fino sherry too.

Prawn or shrimp curry

How hot is the curry? If it&rsquos a korma or dry tandoori try a fruity rosé, if it&rsquos a Thai green curry, a pinot gris or a medium dry riesling may be the better pairing.

Spanish prawn or shrimp rice dishes like paella

Often contain chorizo, certainly seasonings like saffron, garlic and pimenton so they can be quite spicy. Dry Spanish rosados such as those from Rioja and Navarra work well but you could even try a young (joven) red Rioja.

Prawn or shrimp linguine - or other pasta

If your sauce is tomato-based like this one I&rsquod lean towards a dry Italian white or light rosé like a Provence rosé or Bardolino. If it&rsquos creamy like this tagliolini with prawns and treviso try a white with a litlle bit more weight and roundness like a Soave, Gavi, Chenin Blanc or Chablis

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Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits or One Man’s Grits is Another Man’s Truffles

I tried to cook grits long ago, when I married a man from Texas whose mother grew up in Mississippi. It wasn’t just that my husband, Mr. Rabbit Catcher, liked grits. It just seemed a proper thing to be able to do. After all I had married a somewhat Southern man, or so I thought. Growing up in Illinois, grits were not on any menu that my eyes had ever set upon. Nor was red eyed gravy or ham steaks or biscuits or black eyed peas.

The closest thing to grits that had ever been on my plate was corn meal mush and that was during a driving trip to Florida with my family when I think I was 11. We passed through Tennessee and if memory serves me right we ate at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. My father was showing us how to blow the paper wrappers off of straws and during the demonstration his blown paper ended up in the middle of another patron’s breakfast. It was a good blow, so to speak. My brother and I immediately doubled over, filled with laughter. My dad didn’t show us much when it came to sports and such, so this was good stuff. So good, I still remember it.

Whether I ate corn meal mush at this meal I can’t tell you. And why I remember this I really don’t know. And have I ever had corn meal mush since-not that I recall. But sometimes when I go to the grocery I still see that mush in blocks in the refrigerator case and think it must have my name on it. One day I’ll buy it and try it and remember that straw. But what does this have to do with grits? Well, both are made from corn, as is polenta. I like polenta now, but thirty years ago I don’t recall that polenta was on the menu many places. I did try to make grits early in the marriage, but didn’t know about polenta. Anyway the grits were awful. Gluey and sticky, full of clumps and tasted like paste. Not something I’d want to eat again. My husband just laughed. He never asked for them again. Wise decision on his part.

And so it is that a few months ago he brought me home a cookbook from the bargain bin of our local grocery. I think it cost a full $2.99. I’m sure he didn’t realize that he bought me the bible of American regional cooking. He bought me Patrick O’Connell’s “Refined American Cuisine”. Patrick O’Connell of the Inn at Little Washington fame. Patrick O’Connell who Patricia Wells identifies as ” a rare chef with sense of near-perfect taste, like a musician with perfect pitch.” Yeah, that Patrick O’Connell. It was printed in 2004. He got me this book because he liked the pictures. And of course, he was hoping to be the beneficiary of some of them.

So fast forward to the 4th recipe in the book. So far, I haven’t been able to make it past this which means I am missing out on bourbon pecan waffles, wild mushroom napoleans, lemon and black pepper risotto, pecan crusted softshell crab tempura, a crab cake sandwich with fried green tomatoes and frozen eggnog souffle. My heart flutters. There is so much more to go and I am stuck at Swanky and Cheesy Shrimp and Grits. I’ve been stuck here at least 4 times because that is how many times I’ve made this since he has bought it. And after eating these grits, well shoot, just bury me in them. They are worthy. VERY WORTHY!

And so it is that I give you this oh so rich, to die for recipe, courtesy of Mr. Patrick O’Connell. Last night I served it to Mr. Rabbit Catcher after he came in from chasing what he feels is the last rabbit to elude him. “It was clawing its way up the fence to find a way to escape”, he tells me proudly. And then after sitting down and eyeing dinner he says to me, “I love this dish. This is the best polenta I’ve ever had!” Ugh. Doesn’t a southerner know grits when he sees them?

Swanky and Cheesy Shrimp and Grits (serves 2-3)
adapted from Mr. Patrick O’Connell

Ingredients:


Cheesy Rich Grits
4 c chicken broth
1 c grits (quick cooking variety)
1 1/2 T cream cheese or mascarpone
1/4-1/3 c heavy cream
3 cloves roasted garlic or garlic powder
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar
2-3 T freshly grated parmesan

In a 2 qt sauce pan bring stock to boiling. Whisk in grits slowly until soft and creamy. This doesn’t take long. Do not let stick to bottom of pan. Stir in cream cheese or mascarpone, heavy cream, roasted garlic or some garlic powder, pinch of sugar, parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Add more cream as needed to keep from getting to thick. Consistency should be like thick frosting. Keep warm over low heat while making shrimp.

Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic


Ingredients:


1 small container of red baby grape tomatoes
2 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
Bay leaves
Basil leaves
Fresh ground pepper and salt

8 cloves of unpeeled garlic or shallots

I use my small convection toaster oven preheated to 350. Put in foil lined pan and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Tuck in a few bay leaves and fresh basil leaves if you have it. Roast until golden about 30-45 minutes.

Place garlic or shallots in aluminum foil and drizzle with oil. Seal packet and roast in oven with tomatoes.

When tomatoes are roasted and garlic is soft, place tomatoes and 6 garlic cloves freed of their peel into a deep glass bowl or measuring cup. I use an immersion blender to blend them into a coarsely chopped puree. Use reserved garlic cloves to stir into grits.

Ingredients:
1 T olive oil
18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 3/4 lb)
1/2 t minced garlic
1/4 dry white wine or vermouth
Roasted Tomatoes and Shallots or Garlic from above recipe
2 T chopped scallions
1 T butter

In large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add shrimp and saute for three minutes or until they just turn pink. Do not overcook. Add garlic and saute for a few seconds more. Add wine or vermouth, roasted tomato mixture and scallions. Cook down until liquid has almost disappeared without overcooking shrimp. Stir in butter.


Mini Shrimp and Grits Appetizer

I’m still tweaking it a bit but as of now, here is what I’m planning on serving! I’ve been recipe testing my mini shrimp and grits (a nod to the lowcountry) and have included that recipe below! I hope you’ll try it out! All the food is tapas-style as I really believe this encourages mixing and mingling as well as giving guests the opportunity to try everything.

Southern Seaside Wine Party Menu

  • Sonoma-Cutrer Sauvignon Blanc
  • Mini Shrimp & Grits
  • BLT Cups
  • Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches
  • Individual Mandarin Salads

As promised, here is the recipe for the mini shrimp & grits! I’m still perfecting the rest of them and let me tell you, my husband has loved being my official taste-tester!


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