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Tweaking an Old Favorite
Dixie Spiegel

Shrimp and grits!  What could be more Southern? Then why would the Executive Chef at Carolina Meadows, Jody McLeod, who was born and raised in Canada fiddle with shrimp and grits? (We are thrilled to report that Jody became a United States citizen this year!).  However, Chef Jody really does know how to cook Southern.

Here is his take on that Southern staple, Shrimp and Grits:

In his own words, he turned “Shrimp and Grits on its head” by using products found only in NC. He started by grinding canned hominy in a food mill.  Then he added a large chunk of butter (butter makes everything better!)  and an even larger portion of Ashe County Rocket Robiola cheese. He then cooked it, stirring often with a whisk.

Chef’s Hint: Whisking food aerates it and allows you more surface area to taste.

Chef’s Hint:  Don’t grind up all the hominy. Leave about 50% in chunks to add texture and so that each bite is a different experience.

While the hominy and cheese were “getting to know each other,” Chef Jody sliced a little garlic, diced some tomato and onion, and added “pulled bacon.” He sautéed it all together and added shrimp.

Chef’s Hint:  Don’t crush garlic.  Slice it the “short way.” (Think across a tree trunk.)

Chef’s Hint:  With onion, dice it small if you want to focus on the sweetness.  Dice it large if you want to focus on the flavor.

Chef’s Hint: A raw shrimp forms a U (undercooked).  A cooked shrimp forms a C (cooked).  An overcooked shrimp forms an O.  Easy!

When both the hominy grits and the shrimp were cooked, he poured the grits into a bowl made by Haand Pottery from Burlington, NC and added the shrimp mixture. The 25 people at the demonstration all acknowledged that Chef Jody’s version was not only different from the usual Shrimp and Grits recipe, but noticeably better.

Thank you, Jody….

Dixie Spiegel

Judy Tilson

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