Award-winning chef, author and recipe developer Virginia Willis has a new cookbook out that will revitalize your love of Southern cooking like never before. Grab a copy and prepare to bake, batter and biscuit your way to a more delicious dinner. These parmesan cheese grits with shrimp get a healthy kick from fresh spinach. 

My first job cooking was on a TV-cooking show hosted by the grande dame of Southern cooking, Nathalie Dupree. I stayed on after the series taping ended and apprenticed with her for another year before she sent me off to culinary school. While I come from a strong culinary background—my mother is an excellent cook, as was her mother before her—I often say that “Nathalie took me out of my mother’s kitchen.” She exposed me to things I had never seen or heard of, and most certainly had never tasted or cooked. She’s helped me and guided me my entire career. While she’s always going to be my mentor, she’s now become a very dear friend, and I love her very much.

Nathalie uses vast quantities of heavy cream to cook grits, and I tease her that the result is more akin to heavy cream thickened with ground corn than grits—delicious, but very, very rich. This recipe, inspired by hers, is a bit cleaner and simpler. Once upon a time, shrimp and grits was solely a food of the less fortunate—corn was cheap or farmed at home, and shrimp harvested from the creek or ocean was free for the taking, as long as you had a net. Now it has become a ubiquitous Southern dish seen from white-tablecloth restaurants to fast-casual diners.

Reprinted with permission from Secrets Of The Southern Table