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True grits! Steal this super shrimp recipe

In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America.  See how much money you can save — and fun you can have — by cooking these dishes at home!THIS WEEK: Shrimp and Grits Cakes, from The Pilot House, Wilmington, N.C.“What is a grit?”Remember the 1992 film “My Cousin Vinny” when J

In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America.  See how much money you can save — and fun you can have — by cooking these dishes at home!

THIS WEEK: Shrimp and Grits Cakes, from The Pilot House, Wilmington, N.C.

“What is a grit?”

Remember the 1992 film “My Cousin Vinny” when Joe Pesci — playing a New York lawyer called to the Deep South to rescue an in-trouble relative — delivered that unforgettable line?

For those still wondering, grits are grains processed from corn without the germ that are traditionally served for breakfast in the South. However, they’re not just for breakfast. The Pilot House restaurant, located in the newly restored historic Chandler’s Wharf of Wilmington, N.C., serves grits up with shrimp, and they make a tasty combination!

Here’s your chance to try a taste of the South at home with this recipe for Shrimp and Grits Cakes.

About the chef:

Matt Karas was born in Manassas, Va. In high school he found an interest for cooking and followed his interests to Johnson and Wales University, where he obtained an associate’s degree in culinary arts in 1993.

Soon after, he moved to Wilmington and in 1996 was hired by executive chef Vincent Drayton to work at Elijah’s, a well-known eatery in town (and a sister restaurant to The Pilot House).

Over the course of the next few years, Karas honed his skills and was promoted to sous chef in 1998, and in 2000 was appointed executive chef at The Pilot House. Since then he has broadened the range of the restaurant, creating one of the most extensive menus offered in the Wilmington area.

(PLEASE NOTE: Ingredient prices are estimates and based on national averages. Amounts listed are for one portion. Increase proportionately according to number of portions desired.)

Shrimp and Grits Cakes

($8.95 appetizer at The Pilot House; cook-at-home cost is $4.78.)

The Pilot House Restaurant

2 Ann Street

Wilmington, N.C., 28401

(910) 343-0200

www.pilothouserest.com

Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.