Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Dip

Serves 4 to 6

This variation of grits is my all-time favorite, and variations of it appear in several of my cookbooks. That does not take away from its decadence, which makes it a special-occasion dish. These can be served on their own, as a base for shrimp and grits, as a colorful dip, or accompanying ham, eggs, or other delicacies. A chafing dish helps for a party.

— Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients

2 cups milk

2 cups water, shrimp stock or other liquid

1 cup grits

1 garlic clove, chopped (optional)

1 to 2 cups heavy cream

1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup butter

1 to 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup baby spinach, or larger spinach leaves cut into a chiffonade (optional)

1/2 to 1 pound peeled and lightly cooked shrimp, cut into in 1-inch pieces

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Bring the milk and water or stock to a simmer in a heavy- bottomed nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the grits and garlic, if using, and bring just to a boil. Cook until soft and creamy, adding heavy cream as needed to make a loose but not a runny mixture. Add as much butter and cheese as desired, stirring to make sure the cheese doesn’t stick. Add enough cream to make the grits “dip” consistency. Fold in spinach, if using, and shrimp.

They will reheat and cook as needed. Serve with crisp tortilla scoops or chips.

Note: Grits cook in different amounts of time. Quick grits will cook in 5 minutes; some stone-ground grits take up to an hour. Always follow package directions.

Nathalie Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, most recently the James Beard award-winning “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com.