A Fresh Take on Shrimp and Grits

Squire Fox
South Carolina

A Lowcountry classic from Matt and Ted Lee

In culinary circles, the story of Matt and Ted Lee is well known. Here’s the short version: About two decades ago, the Lee brothers, of Charleston, South Carolina, moved to New York City together after attending colleges in the Northeast. While in the Big Apple, their homesickness gave rise to an idea: the Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order source for Southern staples including stone-ground grits, sorghum, and, yes, boiled peanuts. Two cookbooks and a Bobby Flay throwdown later (they won), the Lees are bona fide food-world celebrities.

In their latest book, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (on sale February 26), the brothers dig deep into the food traditions of their Lowcountry hometown. “Nowadays, everyone knows about the restaurants here,” says Matt Lee, “but Charleston is such a unique town from a home-cooking perspective, too.”

Between digressions on such subjects as the shrimping industry, the 1950 cookbook Charleston Receipts, and even foraging on the streets of downtown Charleston, the brothers present recipes inspired by Holy City culinarians past and present. Dishes range from clever inventions (Frogmore Soup, a chowdery take on the iconic seafood-and-vegetable boil) to venerable standbys (Hoppin’ John). And they tackle shrimp and grits with tomato-and-bacon gusto. Their version of the Lowcountry breakfast staple blends the fortified old with the best of the streamlined new for a rich stew of ingredients that still showcases the delicate flavor of fresh shrimp.

>Get the recipe for Shrimp & Grits