A seamless union of land and sea, shrimp and grits just may be the perfect example of lowcountry cuisine. Briny shrimp tossed in butter, cream, or tomato-y gravy are a graceful foil to sweet, earthy grits. The dish itself has been around at least since the early 20th century and as such has spawned many variations. Some are totally bare-bones, containing only shrimp, butter, and grits, while others include bacon, tomatoes, and spice. Matt and Ted Lee's version in The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen is more akin the latter.
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According to Matt and Ted Lee, older Charlestonians refer to cooked grits at "hominy," despite the difference between this dish and the larger nixtamalized corn used in Mexican cooking. These grits are the the bed for the Lee brothers' shrimp in their classic Shrimp and Grits recipe in their Charleston Kitchen cookbook.
A plethora of greens are stewed with a piquant mix of red jalapeño, poblano, smoked paprika, and a generous grind of pepper. Cooked for the better part of an hour, the greens develop a supple, tender texture with a pleasant undercurrent of heat.
The ingredient list for Matt and Ted Lee's cheese spread reads almost like a 2nd grader's cafeteria prank. Cheese, ketchup, worcestershire, horseradish, Tabasco, and beer—how could that taste good? Yet this recipe, from their new cookbook The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, is one of those magical recipes that just works. The balance of tart, spicy, sweet, and malty is totally on point, making for a dip so multilayered that it's impossible to stop eating.