November 3, 2011
Shrimp and Grits/Sympathy food pains for The Nudge
This last quarter seems to be a big travel time of year for The Nudge. Two weeks ago he was across the pond and this week he's across the Mason-Dixon line.
I find myself envious of all that good low country cooking he will get to eat and I have sympathy food pains.
I adore grits (or polenta) and shrimp but adding a poached egg on top is genius. Three favorite foods in one dish, food heaven. Creamy cooked cornmeal is sexy, sorry, I am a hopeless romantic.
I also knew the minute I opened the new Bon Appetit - Restaurant Issue that I was in deep doo-doo. I want to make each recipe in it. There isn't enough time to eat all the glorious food in this months arsenal of food magazines. I think the unstated competition to not go the way of Gourmet has pushed the remaining top magazines to push their staff to not only create great recipes but to send the readers into comfort food shock.
I know 'Tis the Season' and all, and the stops have been pulled out, but I can not decide which one makes my 'To Do" list, my dance card is already full right up to Christmas and the December issues aren't even out yet!!
For my first choice, I am making the Shrimp and Grits from Peels in NYC. Major ingredient Cajun or Low Country cooking is tasso or andouille. What has appeared in markets where I shop is horrible and I would not waste the money on it, so I have to get creative and substitute something else.
As luck would have it, my Shop-Rite was closed with no power so I made the trip east to my old Shop-Rite (big Spanish and Italian communities there). I found a ciauscolo salami, made in the same way and with the same ingredients as andouille. Loaded with garlic and smoked but it is a soft sausage, just like andouille. Remember, the Italians did influence the salami making in Louisiana.
I only made one serving and I changed a few things. The recipe below is the way the chef posted it.
I baked 1/4 cup of Old Fashioned Grits with 3/4 cup water that was salted in my toaster oven for 40 minutes at 350F. When they were done, I added 1/4 cup whole milk (instead of cream), a pat of butter, 1oz of sharp white cheddar and a quarter of the jalapeno.
While the grits did their thing I poached two eggs.
I did not want to open a whole can of beer for one serving so I doubled the amount of chicken broth and added a small amount of milk right at the end.
I will tell you this...I will NEVER stand in front of and stir a pot of polenta again. The baked version was perfect and it allowed me to do other things.
Shrimp with Grits
Adapted from Bon Appetit
* 1 cup yellow grits (not instant)
* 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1 jalapeño, seeded, diced
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup 1/3" cubes tasso, andouille sausage, or bacon
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
* 3 garlic cloves, sliced
* 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
* 16 large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
* 1/4 cup (or more) beer
1/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Turn heat to low; gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, until tender, about 1 hour. Stir in cheese, butter, and jalapeño, then cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
1. Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add tasso; sauté until fat begins to render, about 5 minutes (if tasso is very lean, add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet). Add garlic and 1 tablespoon butter; stir until butter melts. Add shrimp. When garlic begins to brown, add beer and chicken stock. Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; set aside.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; swirl to melt and cover bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan and cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
3. Divide grits among bowls, forming a well in center. Spoon shrimp mixture into center of grits. Top with egg. Sprinkle tarragon over.
Review: First I would like to say that I can not believe I got up at 7AM to make this recipe and that I would not make this for breakfast again unless I was planning on a day of constant movement, it was just over-the-top rich, even without the cream. I would also suggest buying small, one-bite shrimp or cutting the larger ones in half.
I most definitely WILL make this cheesy version of polenta the next time I make a braised meat dish. Will make a great base to sop up the sauce.....PLUS, it is Diabetic Friendly which is a good thing.