Shrimp and Grits

We bought this bag of Palmetto Farms Stone Ground Grits while we were in Savannah, and this afternoon I decided to give them a try. If you’ve read any of my other recipes, the one thing I value second behind a knock-out flavor, is the ease with which the dish is created. This meets all two of my requirements. The only thing I changed is the use of bacon. I gave up pork products a few months ago, so instead of the bacon, I cooked the bell pepper and onions in 4 Tbsp. of butter. Enjoy!

For Grits

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup Palmetto Farm Grits

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For Shrimp Topping

1 cup diced bacon

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

2 tsp. hot pepper sauce

1 lb. medium peeled shrimp

1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper

sliced green onions (scallions) for garnish

For Grits:

Bring chicken broth and milk to a boil. Stir in grits and salt and return to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese. Keep warm.

For Shrimp Topping:

Cook bacon in skillet till crisp. Remove bacon and all but 2 Tbsp. of fat. Add peppers and onions. Cook till tender. Add shrimp and cook till pink. Return bacon. Add hot pepper sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve shrimp mixture over warm grits. Garnish with green onions.

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Orecchiette With Sweet Sausage And Escarole

So much flavor! This recipe from Food and Wine magazine takes some time and dedication in the kitchen, but the pay-off is huge. The only bit of advice I’ll offer is to make sure you rinse the escarole completely. Cut the ends off the heads and rinse.  After chopping into pieces, put in a bowl and rinse. You’ll find a lot of sand left behind in the water, and this is what you don’t want in your dinner. Outside of that….the layers of deliciousness are plenty. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1 fennel bulb, minced

2 large yellow onions, finely chopped (4 cups)

4 garlic cloves – 2 smashed and 2 minced

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 cups dry red wine

One 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 heads of escarole (2 Lbs.) coarsely chopped (rinse, rinse, rinse)

1 cup dry white wine

crushed red pepper

1 Lb. dried orecchiette

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the sausage and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned, 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the fennel, half of the onions and the smashed garlic to the casserole and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are golden and softened, about 10 minutes. Add the red wine, tomatoes and 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Return the sausage to the pot and cook over low heat until the sauce is thickened. 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Add the remaining chopped onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped escarole in batches, stirring until each batch is wilted before adding more. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and the minced garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and a pinch of crushed red pepper and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the escarole is tender, about 40 minutes. Stir the escarole mixture into the sausage ragu.
  3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved water, 5 cups of ragu, the remaining 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and the 1 cup of grated cheese. Season with salt and black pepper and crushed red pepper and toss to coat. Serve with additional cheese. Reserve the remaining ragu for later use.

Chilled Corn Soup with Seared Scallops and Crisp Onions

Sandy outdid herself yesterday with this recipe, which comes from Sunset Magazine. She made the soup one day prior and put it in the fridge to chill, then right before the meal, made the crispy onions and seared scallops. The soup, which is well balanced with the addition of the vinegar, has a sweetness that compliments the saltiness of the onions and the light sear on the seafood. Wow…I was blown over and so was our guest!

Serves 6

SOUP

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 Tbsp. salted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

4 cups corn kernels (from 4 or 5 cobs)

About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

About 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

About 2 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar

ONIONS

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons

SCALLOPS

6 dry-packed scallops (free of brine and preservatives, and brown better when you cook them)

1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper

Ground black pepper

  1. Make soup: Toast cumin seeds in a medium-wide pot over medium-high heat until slightly darker and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Lower heat to medium and add butter. When better melts, stir in onion. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add corn, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 cups broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer until corn begins to soften and break down, about 15 minutes.
  2. Working in batches, whirl corn mixture in a blender, covering lid with a towel and holding it down, until very smooth. Add cream. Chill until cold, about 2 1/2 hours, or overnight.
  3. Stir 2 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar into soup. If soup is too thick, add a little more (chilled) broth until it’s as thin as you like. Taste, and season with more vinegar and salt if you like.
  4. Meanwhile, cook onions: Heat oil and ground cumin in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat if they start to brown unevenly. Lift onions from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 Tbsp. oil for the scallops.
  5. Cook scallops: Lay scallops on a paper towel-lined plate and bring to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and let stand 5 minutes longer. While scallops rest, divide chilled soup among chilled bowls.
  6. Heat a large (not nonstick) frying pan over medium heat, When hot, swirl in reserved onion-cumin oil, then arrange scallops in a single layer in pan with ample space between them. Cook scallops without moving them until golden and crusty on the bottom, about 2 minutes; then turn them and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let scallops sit in pan 1 minute.
  7. Set a scallop (or two) in each bowl of chilled soup. Top with a small tangle of fried onion strings, and coarsely grind pepper over all.

Rib Eye Steaks With Grilled Onion Jam

This recipe comes from the August edition of Food and Wine magazine.  My rib eyes were not as thick as the one’s they featured in the publication, so when it came time to throw them back on the grill after applying the butter/herb mix, I shortened that time to 30 seconds per side. They charred beautifully. The jam (which isn’t like jam as we know it; more like grilled onions in a tangy sauce) was just perfect with the sweetness of the beef, cooked with butter and garlic. Kind of a “sweet and sour” thing going on with this dish. Lovely…….give it a try!

Serves 4

ONION JAM

3 red onions, sliced

extra virgin olive oil for brushing

Kosher salt and pepper

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp. finely chopped thyme

STEAKS

Two 1  1/2-lb. bone-in rib eye steaks (1  1/2 inch thick), at room temperature

extra virgin olive oil for brushing

Kosher salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp. minced rosemary

2 tsp. minced thyme

2 garlic cloves, grated

  1. MAKE THE ONION JAM: Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the onions with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the vinegar and maple syrup to a boil. Add the onions and simmer over moderately low heat until tender, 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool. Stir in the thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. MAKE THE STEAKS: Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Stand the steaks on their fatty edges (bone side up) and cook over moderate heat until the fat has started to render and is lightly charred, 5 minutes. (I just ran the fatty ends of both steaks over the fire then threw the steaks on) Lay the steaks flat.  Grill, turning often, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 120 degrees. If using a grill pan, carefully blot excess fat with a  paper towel to prevent flare-ups. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes. Leave the grill on.
  4. In a bowl, blend the butter, rosemary, thyme and garlic. Brush the herb butter on the steaks and grill over high heat, turning once, until sizzling, 1 minute per side. Transfer to a carving board. Slice the steaks and serve with the onion jam.

 

Shrimp Curry Noodle Bowl

This recipe comes from the May 2016 Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and it’s such an outstanding and easy dinner, I make it once a month! There are two things I changed: I do not put the lime zest in, but I do squeeze in the juice from the lime, and I do not put in the fish sauce. Sandy put together a beautiful grapefruit and avocado salad which was a perfect compliment to this spicy dish. Enjoy!

2 Tbsp. peanut or canola oil (I use peanut)

2 shallots, sliced

1 lime

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 to 2 Tbsp. red curry paste

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 lb. fresh or frozen medium shrimp in shells, peeled and deveined (I use fresh)

8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles (don’t forget to soaked them for 2 minutes in room temp. water before adding)

1   13 1/2-14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk

fresh basil leaves and lime wedges

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until crisp and browned. Remove shallots, set aside. Using vegetable peeler, remove zest from lime in strips; cut lime in half. Add garlic, ginger and curry paste to Dutch oven; cook and stir 1 minute. Add broth, fish sauce and 2 cups water. Squeeze lime into broth; add strips of zest. Bring to boiling.

Stir in shrimp and noodles. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook 3-4 minutes or just until shrimp turn opaque. Stir in coconut milk; heat through. Remove lime zest. Top bowls with shallots and basil; serve with lime wedges. Makes 6 servings.

 

Monkfish In Saffron Broth

If you want a dish that tastes sinful, but is healthier than a walk in the woods, this is the dish. This is a homerun. I’m not going to go on about it….just make it, and enjoy! By the way, I used a moderate Bordeaux in the dish, and drank it with the finished meal!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 lb. monkfish, cut into 1 inch pieces

Kosher salt and pepper

2 shallots, thinly sliced

3 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

Generous pinch of saffron threads

1/3 cup dry white wine

In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Season the monkfish with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning, until light golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and the shallots to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the thyme, saffron and wine and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water along with the monkfish and any accumulated juices. Add more salt and thyme leaves if needed. Bring just to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender and the fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

I served the dish with little finger biscuits to butter up and dunk in the broth.