I have a feeling, if my daughter had a chance to eat the same breakfast every day, she’d choose hominy grits with Gulf brown shrimp. Last week she traveled to Temple, TX on a business trip. Very impressed by local Megg’s Cafe, she shared a picture of grits and shrimp served there — with corn salsa, mushrooms, and bacon. Being a good mother, I sort of recreated it for her at home. A few times. When in Austin, this breakfast is a must!

My generation was raised on cream of wheat, just like generations of americans were raised on cream of wheat/oatmeal/grits depending on time and region. Some of us hate it, remembering bland, gooey, barely warm mass served as breakfast for kids everywhere — at home, in preschool, or in school cafeteria. Others crave for it, because they remember how their creative parents turned this simple porridge into a sweet treat by adding a little bit of honey or raspberry jam. I didn’t like either version of cream of wheat. I also was not excited to taste grits when I moved to the the U.S. Well, not excited until I tasted them for the first time as a part of a prefix New Years Eve menu in Westin hotel, URBAN – AN AMERICAN GRILL. The grits were creamy and smokey, and served with grilled lobster tails and charred romaine lettuce. It was so good, I still remember the taste! I decided to learn more about grits.

Yellow corn meal on the left, white hominy grits on the rightApparently, even southerns are not always sure what the grits are, what kinds of grits exist, and how to choose them. For example, what’s the difference between white and yellow grits or between grits and corn meal? Do regular grits and instant grits make the same delicious porridge? My personal answer to this questions is regular white hominy grits are the best. When I have time, I cook them from scratch. When I don’t, I buy cooked “Fully Loaded” HEB brand frozen hominy grits. They are wonderful, just way more expensive. Locally hominy grits can be found in bulk foods department in Central Market.

The second important ingredient is Texas Gulf brown shrimp. If you have a choice, get them fresh.

Brown shrimp are found along the Gulf’s nutrient-rich bottom floors, where they mostly rest during the day and swim around at night. Brown shrimp can grow up to 9.5 inches long, and their most unique feature is the large groove on their backside. Brown shrimp are darker in color than other shrimp species and sometimes have specks of green or red on their tails. Brown shrimp are found year-round in all the Gulf states and are especially abundant in Texas and Louisiana. Brown shrimp have a firm texture and strong flavor.source

For this recipe I used beech mushrooms, but any mushrooms will do.

Home cooks always balance the time and money spend on cooking at home. While meals cooked at home by experienced cooks are always cheaper and healthier, we sometimes have to trade time for money. That’s when we are grateful for high quality products like Arriba! salsa. My favorite is Morita Salsa, locally found in Spec’s stores.

Texan Breakfast: Grits and Shrimp

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: breakfast, corn, lycooking, lyukum cooking lab, mushroom, salsa, shrimp
Servings: 2 portions


for grits

  • 1/2 cup white hominy grits dry
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
  • 3 g katsuobushi
  • 1 tbsp butter

for shrimp

  • 1 lb shrimp Gulf Brown
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp compound butter flavored with ramps or chives
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper ground

for garnishing

  • 8 tbsp morita salsa Arriba! brand
  • 1 pack beech mushrooms also known as Shimeji
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp arugula microgreens


for grits

  • Bring water to boiling, add grits, stir, reduce heat to minimum, cover with lid, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. When grits are cooked and creamy, add butter and flavorings of your choice. The most common flavoring ingredients are crispy bacon bits and grated cheese, but I encourage you to try katsuobushi to add seafood smokiness to your grits.

for shrimp

  • Shell and devein shrimp. Melt butter on medium-high heat, add shrimp, season it, and cook, stirring frequently, until the flesh is totally orange-pink and opaque. Do not overcook them! They need only 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and add compound butter. Let it melt, stir to coat all shrimp.

for assembly

  • Unpack beech mushrooms and cut off just enough of the base to separate them. You don't need to wash them. Melt butter on medium-high heat, add mushrooms, season them, and cook on high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
  • Warm the plates. Spoon grits in the center. Spoon salsa around it. Place mushrooms on top of salsa and arrange shrimp. Garnish with micro-greens, and serve.


What is katsuobushi?
Smoked Hominy Grits with Shrimp