Village Tavern’s Mary Grace Viado demos a tasty classic.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Mary Grace Viado is the corporate chef for all Village Tavern restaurants. Thus she could choose the make her home in any of 10 cities where Village Taverns are located. Yet Birmingham is her choice of home—where she is also the Village Tavern, Birmingham’s executive chef. Viado shares her secrets for a Southern and Village Tavern favorite, Shrimp & Grits. 

Shrimp Ingredients:
2   Tablespoons Oil
8    Each Shrimp 21-25 count Tail-off
½   Cup Sliced Mushrooms
1    Teaspoon Garlic, minced
2    Tablespoons White Wine
¼   Cup Green onions, sliced ¼ inch
¼   Cup Bacon, pre-cooked, diced ¼ inch
¼   Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼   Teaspoon Coarse Grind Black Pepper
3    Dashes Hot Sauce
1    Teaspoon Parsley, chopped
1    Cup Cheese Grits

In a pre-heated sauté pan with canola oil, add shrimp. Turn shrimp when they begin to color, add mushrooms and garlic and cook for one minute. Add white wine, green onions and bacon. Toss well and cook until shrimp is done but not overcooked. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Spoon shrimp mixture over grits. Garnish with chopped parsley. Yield: 1 Serving.

Cheese Grits Ingredients:
3 ½  Cups Water
1      Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1      Cup Heavy Cream
1      Cup Anson Mills Organic Stone Ground Grits
¼     Teaspoon White Pepper, ground
1 ½  Cup Gruyere Cheese, shredded

Bring water and Kosher salt in a boil in a saucepot. Slowly add grits, whisking constantly. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the grits to stick in the bottom or scorch. Taste if grits are cooked, if not continue to cook for another five minutes, stirring continuously. Once grits are cooked, whisk in heavy cream. Remove from heat and add white pepper and Gruyere cheese, stir until cheese is melted. Keep hot. Yield: 5 Cups.

Published, B-Metro magazine, January 2012