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Watch: Suzanne Barr makes spicy shrimp and grits In the Kitchen with Foodism

In the Kitchen is our new video series sharing exclusive recipes and stories from Toronto's best chefs and bartenders. In episode one, Suzanne Barr whips up her legendary shrimp and grits.

Serves 4

Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

Grab your tote and shop Toronto

St. Lawrence Market

For the first episode of In the Kitchen, we're excited to partner with St. Lawrence Market, the one-stop-shop for all of your cooking needs. With over 120 vendors, makers and artisans under one roof, you can put dinner on the table and support local tonight. Toronto's culinary focal point is located on Front St. E. and carries everything on your shopping list, from fruit, vegetables, meat and fish to grains, baked goods and dairy products.

Thanks to safety precautions, St. Lawrence Market has continuously operated during the COVID-19 health emergency to give Toronto residents reliable access to great quality fresh foods. The Market is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 5 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Here at Foodism, we get to do some pretty cool stuff: from crushing burgers with Matty Matheson to creating exclusive, rum-inspired dinners at Louix Louis (in the Before Times) and, hey, even travelling outside of the GTA to feast on the best cheese on offer in the Azores. But we'd have to say that we're even more excited than all of that combined to bring you In the Kitchen with Foodism. Our brand new video series shares exclusive recipes and stories from Toronto's best chefs and bartenders — and for the debut episode, we wanted to start things off with a bang.

Suzanne Barr, a powerhouse chef, author and advocate in the Toronto food scene, absolutely fits the bill. The former Saturday Dinette chef and our first host joined us for a day in the studio where she chatted about her love of cooking, what it's like to be a BIPOC female chef in Toronto, and how to whip up a bowl of comfort food.

Ever wondered why your homecooked dishes lack the finesse experienced at your favourite restaurants? Or how the city's best dishes were dreamed up or inspired decades before you took your first bite? Grab a fork, bring your appetite and find out more in episode one.

A popular dish at Saturday Dinette — Barr's first Toronto restaurant — shrimp and grits is a hearty recipe that's simple to make and perfect for winter. As the advocate and chef explains, the smokiness of the paprika and red pepper flakes give the dish a spicy kick, while the lemon cheddar grits are the food equivalent of a warm hug that you'll want to curl up with over and over again.

First discovered when living in Georgia, Barr describes the comforting classic as a "decadent, deep dive into the history of corn grits" which "tells the story of American soul food". It's no surprise that her shrimp and grits — which started out as an appetizer — quickly became a staple at the popular Gerrard East restaurant. 

Watch the video above for insider intel on how to make this delicious dish in your own kitchen tonight.

Ingredients

Dinette’s Smoked Shrimp

  • 1 lb rock shrimp or popcorn shrimp (peeled & deveined)
  • 6 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1⁄4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1⁄2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced scallion to garnish

Lemon Cheddar Grits

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground corn grits
  • 2 cups white sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Method

For the shrimp:

  1. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned. Place on a plate with a paper towel.
  2. Place shrimp in a bowl with garlic, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes.
  3. Add shrimp into the remaining oil in the pan. Cook until shrimp turns pink.
  4. Add tarragon, parsley, lemon zest, scallion and sea salt. Saute for 3 minutes.

For the grits:

  1. Place 4 cups of water and corn grits in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low.
  2. Cook grits stirring regularly using a whisk or wooden spoon to avoiding clumping or burning for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Cut butter into smaller pieces and grate some sharp cheddar cheese.
  4. Once the grits are ready, remove from heat and stir in butter, cheese, milk, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  5. Season with salt.
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