Wish Upon A Dish: Millet Grits with BBQ Shrimp, NOLA Style

April 16, 2013

Millet Grits with BBQ Shrimp, NOLA Style

The last time I made Crescent City BBQ Shrimp (New Orleans style) I used Emeril's recipe and let's face it, it was loaded with butter. It was wonderful but there had to be a better way so I took a shot at creating a lighter version with all the taste but way low in fat.

I almost forgot about a container of Butter Buds in my pantry. Not a huge real butter user, except in baking, I admit I should have been using those sprinkles more. Trust me, it tastes like real butter and now they have premixed packets making it completely user friendly.

This recipe is going to blow your mind. Low fat, gluten free, low carb and low cal but with all the taste of real New Orleans BBQ Shrimp.

What brought this on? While looking for semolina flour in the Bob's Red Mill section of my market, I stumbled on something I did not ever see before.....Millet Grits.

A huge fan of whole millet, this grind of millet peaked my interest and would be a nice addition to my grits collection. With just 15 minutes of cooking, it's doable on nights when you want a quick grain to replace rice or potatoes. There are other great reasons for eating millet.

First up, what is millet?
Millet is actually a group of related plants that produce small pearl-like grains and not a single plant. Millet is low in essential amino acids and higher than most grains in fat content, 75 percent of which is heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat. Millet has been shown to be potentially beneficial in the management of diabetes.  

Why is it good for Type 2 Diabetics?
Millet may make a good substitute for rice for some diabetics. Millet's high fiber content slows digestion and releases sugar into the bloodstream at a more even pace. This helps diabetics avoid dangerous spikes in blood sugar that lead to glucose spilling over into the urine, known as glucosuria. Millet also contains high quantities of methionine, an amino acid that is deficient in most grains, giving millet a valuable place in a vegetarian diet. A high-fat diet containing 20 percent millet protein for three weeks significantly decreased glucose and triglyceride levels.
Millet also increased levels of high-density lipoprotein, HDL, the good form of cholesterol. Millet may potentially be useful at managing insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease in Type 2 diabetes. Millet is featured among a list of healthy foods for its ability to decrease insulin resistance in the book "The 200 SuperFoods That Will Save Your Life" by registered dietitian Deborah A. Klein, M.S.
Millet is also a good source of B vitamins your body uses to process carbohydrates and contains substantial quantities of several minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Klein notes that preliminary research has produced promising results for the potential of millet in treating Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Millet produced the lowest post-prandial -- after a meal -- blood sugar levels in a study on the blood sugar and insulin effects of traditional Sudanese meals. Study participants with Type 2 diabetes ate meals of wheat, sorghum, millet and maize on six difference occasions with a 1-week interval. Two-hour postprandial blood sugar levels were lowest when participants ate a millet porridge. One more reason to introduce ourselves to old grains and seeds made available by new distributors. Enough of the schooling, let's get down to the food!

What's the best thing to serve over grits of any grain?
Shrimp, baby!

Lately I can get fresh, never been frozen jumbo shrimp at my store and when the price is right (under $10 per pound) I stock up and shrimp is what's for dinner tonight.

Lightened Up NOLA BBQ Shrimp over Millet Grits
makes 4 servings

* 1 pound XL shrimp, peeled and veined
* 1 tablespoon Creole seasonings

* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
* 2 large cloves minced garlic
* 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
* 1 lemon, sliced into 4 slices, then zested and juiced
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
* 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
* 2 teaspoons Tobasco sauce
* 1/4 cup Butter Buds mixed with 1/4 cup hot water
* 1 tablespoon cream (optional)

* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1/4 cup minced onion
* 1/3 cup millet grits
* 1 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest

* 1 tablespoon liquefied Butter Buds
* 1 teaspoon  Romano cheese, grated

1. Toss the shrimp with the seasonings.
2. Heat a heavy fry pan (cast iron or dutch oven) with oil and when sizzling hot, add the shrimp and cook 1 minute on each side. Remove and reserve.
3. Lower heat to medium and add the white wine, the rosemary, Worcestershire and Tobasco. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the zest.
4. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the millet and saute with the onions for 1 minutes. Add the water, the salt and pepper, lemon zest to the millet. Lower the heat to gently simmer for 15-20 minutes, covered.
5. When the millet is soft and looks like mashed potatoes, add the liquefied Butter Buds and cheese and stir to combine.
6. If the grits get too thick just add 1 tablespoon of water to loosen them up.
7. Add the shrimp back into the sauce with the liquefied Butter Buds and optional cream. Stir till it bubbles and spoon over the grits. Add the lemon slices and bring to the table.

Review: This style of grits were creamier than normal corn grits and will make a fine addition to my collection. Next time I make a batch, they will be added to a waffle or pancake batter for a really tasty and healthy breakfast. Even The Nudge agreed those pancakes would be good. Yummy!

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