Butter poached cod
“Pretty self explanatory. Poach fresh cod gently in organic unsalted butter. Yes, butter. Season. Serve with simple sides and something nicely chilled of moderate price. A Vermentino or light Burgundy would suffice.”
Contrary to what most of us New Yorkers may believe, there are a vast number of people out there who aren’t spreading the news, are not leaving today, and don’t even care to want to be a part of our New York, NY. They do not care to make it here, because they are making it elsewhere. Shockingly, yes. But this is because they are already living it up in magical cities of their own. New Orleans is a jewel among them. Full of jazz, great architecture, history, unique cuisine, and a language all its own, no wonder that its one of America’s most beloved cities.
While in New Orleans for our friends’ unbelievably magical wedding weekend, I was excited to expand my horizons and try some of the unique cuisines the city has to offer: crawfish étouffée, alligator sausage, frogs legs… and I was most excited to satisfy my newly found craving for that good ‘ol Southern staple – shrimp and grits.
Finding authentic shrimp and grits (the fun pronunciation is “greeeeeettttsss”) in New York City is virtually impossible. Yes, there are some places that have some sort of gluey gloppy mess trying to pass itself off as cheese grits, but it just lacks that certain je ne sais quoi. There are a few other options – date a Southerner who can cook, book a plane ticket to NoLa, or make ‘em yourself.Here’s my own version of shrimp ‘n grits! While it hasn’t been road tested by a real Southerner yet, I think it’s a nice little homage to the ‘ol bayou…
The key is to source the best quality grits as possible. My first bag of grits was purchased during a different trip to charming Charleston, SC. This bag of Palmetto’s Farm Grits was purchased online, and I would highly recommend this brand. Not only are you purchasing some of the best quality stone ground grits around, you’re supporting a family owned business dedicated to keeping old school traditions alive.
Yankee Shrimp ‘n’ Grits
(serves 2) cook time: 30 min total
1/4 cup yellow or white stone ground grits (be sure to avoid instant)
2 cups + 1/4 cup whole milk (first to start, then during cooking)
1/4 cup water
2 tblspn unsalted butter
1/2 cup (or more to your liking) fresh grated cheddar cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper
10 or so med size fresh shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 med size onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper, or any dry southern seasoning of your choice
freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tblspn fresh parsley
Make the Grits
Rule of thumb for grits to liquid ratio. The recommendation is 1 cup grits : 4 cups liquid, but I go for almost 1:5 or 1:6 ratio for creamy results.
(1). In a med size heavy bottom saucepan, measure out 2 cups of milk + ¼ cup water, add the ¼ cup of grits. Bring to a boil over med high heat. (You’ll add the rest of the milk after 10min when it starts to come together) After it’s bubbling, turn the heat down to low simmer. Stir with a flat squared off wooden spoon (in order to get into the corners). Add the rest of the milk (¼ to ½ cup more here).
(2). After about 10-15 minutes of stirring fairly constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom, you will start to see it thickening and slowly coming together. (don’t rush the process, it takes about 25 minutes total cook time). Keep stirring, add a tiny pinch of salt at this stage, and start the shrimp.
Sauté the shrimp
(3). In a small frying pan over med heat, sauté onions till soft, 5 min. Add garlic, sliced chorizo (optional) to brown and warm through (8 min). Finally add your shrimp, sprinkle over some paprika or seasonings, and sauté the shrimp for 8-10 min total till nicely browned. Turn heat off, leave in pan to keep warm. (You can finish with a spritz of fresh lemon juice also).
Finish the grits
(4). After 25 minutes the grits will start to really thicken up. Keep stirring and add the grated cheese here. Taste for seasoning (salt & pepper), and finish with the 2 tblspn of butter. It will be fluffy and creamy after 30 minutes.
Serve hot with the shrimp and chorizo sauté over the grits, with a sprinkle parsley on top. Throw on some jazz, mix up a pitcher of cocktails, and enjoy!!
This lovely bag of grits was purchased from Palmetto Farms:
We have a musically inclined DJ friend who is a modern day Austin Powers – a true man about town / rock and roll ladies man who just exudes that Brit charm. One day while assisting on a photo shoot, I got to chatting with him about food, and he mentioned that the other day he wanted to make a soft boiled egg, but realized that he didn’t even know how to boil water. I’m sure he was joking but I think my eyeballs just about jumped out of their sockets! Eggs can be a little tricky actually, unless you’re okay with 70s style green ring around the yolk sort of thing. I guess consulting the world wide web didn’t occur to him, but I started to ponder about what sort of non-cook food skills would be useful for guys like him and other gentlemen on the late night prowl… especially during a vampire moment when they need to feast on something and also impress an overnight guest in the wee small hours of the night.
There’s almost nothing easier to make than a sandwich….
There’s a scene in the Terminator when Sarah’s roommate Ginger goes into the kitchen to make a big ‘ol honkin sandwich in the middle of the night while her boyfriend Matt gets clobbered by Arnie. (“Don’t make me bust you up, man!”) How good did that sandwich look?? Ginger’s deli style sandwich had several meats with fresh lettuce and tomatoes – basically the works, but not to despair if the fridge isn’t stocked up. There are some very tasty British style sandwiches (known as “sarnies”) that do not require any fresh veg at all.
A British classic, it’s basically a BLT without the L and T.
*tip: leave the butter out when you head out for the night, that way when you come home it will be soft and spreadable. It won’t seem presumptuous since after all it’s just butter. Or microwave for 10 sec max to soften slightly.
Fry the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Butter each side of the bread in a thin layer, all the way to the end. Warm the bread slightly in the bacon pan over med heat so the bread soaks up some of the bacon grease. Layer the bacon, cut sandwich in half and enjoy. Some people put a few drops of Worchestershire sauce on the bacon or ketchup as well, but this is all a matter of preference and level of intoxication.
Cheese & Pickle Sandwich:
This is a cold sandwich originating as part of the Ploughman’s lunch. And applicable here since there is some sort of ‘ploughing’ going on hopefully. These were cold snacks served in pubs with some cheddar cheese, Branston pickle and maybe some other cold salad items alongside a pint. Branston pickle is one of those weird British staples like Marmite that has a distinct flavor, but is also what makes this sandwich so delicious. I might be mistaken but I think WholeFoods carries it, but you can definitely buy it online or at a British grocery store.
Spread a thin layer of butter on both slices of untoasted bread.
Spread a layer of Branston pickle on each slice, followed by a layer
of sliced cheddar cheese. Slice in half and enjoy!