The Southeast of the United States is a land of culinary wonders. For a foodie with an interest in culture and heritage there is no better place than Charleston in South Carolina.

Charleston an architectural gem is the type of place where everybody is a gentleman and a lady and where oyster roasts (a barbeque of sorts) are every weekend affairs.

The palate of Charlestonians is renowned and they are experts at creating culinary delights out of superficially common ingredients like collard greens, crab and corn.

This type of food, called Low country is heavily influenced by the Caribbean and West Africa via the slaves that worked in that area. For a foreigner, this land and its bounty are totally unexpected. We ate our way through trays of fresh oysters, shrimp and grits, she-crab soups, boiled peanuts and of course the layered fluffy coconut cakes.

Sean Brock, a chef on the tip of everyone’s tongue has his base here and his restaurant Husk is refined and easy going at the same time. We loved the chicken skins with maple syrup, the cornbread and the pimento cheese.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Serves 4

Ingredients

Grits:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup vintage cheddar, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 chili, seeded, diced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper

Shrimp:

  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 500 grams large shrimp peeled, deveined
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onion

For grits:

Bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Stir for a couple of minutes and add water if too thick. Stir in cheese, butter, and chili, then cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

For shrimp:

Heat a skillet and add bacon until fat begins to render. Add garlic and butter. Add shrimp and cook until pink. When garlic begins to brown, add beer and chicken stock. Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Serve grits with shrimp and green onions on top.