Love and Olive Oil

Étouffée Style Shrimp and Grits

Fresh seafood is hard to come by when the nearest coast is over 450 miles away.

I have to say, as much as I love this city, I am envious of my coastal cohorts. Hearing my mom talk about buying fresh halibut pretty much right off the boat, yes, that makes me a wee bit jealous.

Frozen just doesn’t compare.

Probably why the seafood category here has been pretty scarce after 2007 (when we moved to Nashville from California). I figure, if you can’t have really good, fresh seafood, probably best not to eat it at all.

Enter Louisiana Seafood Company. The little shop opened up in the Nashville Farmers’ Market house just this past summer. Each week they bring up a load of seafood fresh from the dock. The next best thing to having an ocean outside my window.

For not much more than a bag of wimpy, frozen shrimp from Thailand, we can have a pound of beautiful, fresh shrimp. Even when we lived in California, truly fresh shrimp are a delicacy I have never been able to enjoy. And now that we have a source, we’ve been cooking up a storm.

Etouffee-Style Shrimp and Grits

Our first foray into étouffée (they are Louisiana shrimp, I figured I should honor them with a good Louisiana cookin’) we got a bit more shrimpyness than we bargained for. When you accidentally dump the entire pot of shrimp stock over your stovetop, you realize just how many unreachable nooks and crannies there really are. We had shrimp stock dripping in between the layers of glass in the oven door for gosh sakes. It was bad. For weeks the shrimp smell would re-emerge every time we turned on the oven or stove. Sure, the étouffée was good. But I’m not sure it was 3 weeks of dealing with shrimp stench good.

Needless to say, this time, we were a bit more cautious.

We took some liberties with the original recipe (and I hope I have not offended anyone in my uninhibited merging of southern staples), a union resulting in part by my new-found obsession with grits. Shrimp and grits meets shrimp étouffée? Yes, please.

Étouffée Style Shrimp and Grits

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For Shrimp Stock:
1 lb shrimp, head and shell on
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced

For Grits:
1 cup stone ground grits (not instant)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

For Étouffée:
1 andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and halved
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme


In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Remove heads and peels from shrimp. De-vein if desired.

Add peels and heads to saucepan along with celery, carrot, onion, and garlic. Boil for 45 minutes to an hour, or as time allows. The longer you boil it the more concentrated the flavors will be. Strain and set aside 2 cups of stock. Remaining stock can be reserved for another use (divide it among freezer safe containers and freeze; frozen stock will keep for up to 3 months).

To prepare grits, bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Turn heat to low; gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, until tender, about 1 hour. Stir in butter and cream. Season generously with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, preheat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage pieces and cook until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. If dry, add 1 tablespoon butter. Add garlic, onion, and pepper and cook until softened. Whisk in tomato paste and thyme and cook for 3 minutes. Add reserved 2 cups of shrimp stock; reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until sauce has reduced to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until shrimp are just opaque and start to curl.

Divide grits among bowls. Spoon shrimp mixture over top and serve.

Heavily adapted from here and here.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. I would add more Andouille sausage than one link. Maybe some hot sauce to taste.

  2. I like the basics but missing the roux.

  3. thanks for sharing hun, i’m gonna make it tomorrow :)

  4. Did you know that your great great grandmother (Bob’s grandmother) was from Shreveport Louisiana? Bob’s mom, Mimi, even thought she was raised in LA, would cook us grits all the time, sometimes for breakfast! I loved them!

  5. I haven’t had a great etouffee in about 3 years. This is bringing me right back to the amazing flavors though!

  6. Perfect way to welcome Fall! happy Cooking!

  7. I tried etouffee for the first time in New Orleans and I’ve been dying to try making it at home. Thanks for sharing a beautiful recipes; your photos bring me back to that dish!

  8. I love seafood. So I just can’t wait to try this recipe.

  9. Wow. This looks gorgeous. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

  10. Hey there!
    I’ve been a long time reader but haven’t been doing too much blog reading for the past few months as I’ve been travelling! I’ve missed reading my weekly dose of L&OO, so I decided to check in today and I must say WOAH!!

    First off, I LOVE the site makeover! The lined paper background, fantastic! And your photos! YOUR PHOTOS! Your photos were always stunning, but it seems the quality has increased dramatically – they’re absolutely mind blowing! KUDOS!! Keep up the fantastic work.

    Could I look forward to a L&OO cookbook in the near future perhaps? I sure hope so.

    – Allison

  11. I grew up in Louisiana, in Cajun Country actually. This shrimp and grits you made looks basically like a lot of shrimp and grits I’ve had in or near the New Orleans area. In Cajun Country we tend to do one pot cooking so the sauces (gravies) are darker kind of like dark chicken and sausage gumbo. I have yet to see shrimp and grits with a cream sauce unless it’s from the Carolinas or even Georgia. However, what you made looks pretty good even though I’m vegan now.

  12. This seriously looks incredible!!! Thanks for sharing…can’t wait to make it

  13. This looks amazing!! I’ve never really thought about the ease of buying seafood – I guess when you live in Australia and every border is water, fresh seafood is available pretty much anywhere.

  14. I understand that yen for fresh seafood, believe me. Living in Paris after growing up in New York means that I don’t quite know what to do when a seafood craving hits. That being said, this looks amazing… looks like I’m going to need to hunt down some shrimp… somwhere….

  15. I don’t eat seafood, and I have never had grits, but this dish still manages to impress!

  16. First off, thank you so much for cluing me in about Louisiana Seafood Company. I have despaired, myself, of finding good seafood in this town.

    Next, the thought of spilling shrimp stock and the potential ensuing stench?

    Oy vey.

    Third, the dish looks absolutely scrumptious!

  17. That looks delicious! I’ve never thought of combining shrimp with grits. Luckily, I live near the best fish market in LA after Santa Monica Seafood: Fish King. Because otherwise, you’re right – it’s hard to come by good fish in California!

  18. I’m not a huge seafood fan but this looks so good that I want to dive in!

  19. Last night I was just thinking: Why the heck do Shrimp & Grits recipes have to be bathed in cream sauce?!?! And, then, you have an alternative! Brilliant!

  20. Honestly, during my college days I got to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I was 22 but I was not at all interested in getting my well earned beads or drinking myself to an oblivion; I was only interested in getting some New Orleans grub. My first reaction to these photos was nostalgic. All I want right now are so shrimp and grits. OMG.

  21. Oh my gosh, this looks wonderful, and does not offend me in the least! I love the idea of putting these two dishes together! (love the pics too) :-)

  22. I am so attracted to red food (I realize that’s strange) so this is going on my MUST MAKE list for this weekend. freaking. yum. to. my. face.

  23. Shrimp and grits is probably my favorite combination in the seafood world. I like adding some cheese to the grits to make it even worse for you (haha). This looks fantastic!

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