Annually, we treat ourselves to Southern shrimp and grits over Easter weekend. This year, I served the special dish using purple “unicorn” grits from Millers All Day in Charleston, South Carolina. Festive!
This version was topped with a spicy and garlicky roasted poblano-jalapeño sauce which had a terrific balance with the rich, cheesy grits. The shrimp was also cooked in garlic oil. It was a great variation to try for the garlic and sauce lovers in my house. 🙂 The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Marc Meyer. I modified the method and proportions.
Yield: Serves 4
4 cups water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup stone-ground white grits (I used stone-ground unicorn grits)
2 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 jalapeño chile
1 poblano chile
5 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp, patted dry (I used 21-25 count per pound)
Place oven rack in the highest position and set to broil. Place the jalapeño and poblano chiles on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until blackened all over, about 3 minutes per side.
Remove from the oven and wrap in the foil. Allow to steam and cool for 10 minutes, then rub off the skins. Stem and seed the chiles.
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
Whisk in the grits and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the grits are tender and very thick, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the milk, cheese, and butter. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. (I used about 1/2 tsp salt.) Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then keep warm.
In a small skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is softened and very lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a blender. Add the chiles and the orange juice and puree until smooth. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and puree until creamy. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. (I used a Vitamix.)
Pat the shrimp dry and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of garlic oil. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a very large skillet until very hot, about 2 minutes.
Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until browned and just cooked through, about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
To serve, spoon the grits into bowls and top with sauce and shrimp. Serve additional sauce at the table.
Many years ago, my husband and I first tried Romesco sauce while on vacation in Barcelona. It was served with grilled ramps. We were instant fans! Using jarred fire-roasted red peppers as a shortcut is an absolute genius way to create it. I served the meatballs and sauce in this dish with slices of sourdough baguette to sop up every last drop. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sara Frost. I modified the proportions. The original recipe notes that the delicious sauce can add richness to other lean proteins such as fish, pan-roasted chicken breast and can also be used as a dip for vegetables. Next time, I may serve this dish with grilled scallions. Yum.
My son ate the leftover meatballs and baguette as a luxurious sandwich with melted cheese, topped with Romesco sauce, of course. This dish could also be served as a fabulous appetizer.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 3/4 lbs ground turkey
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
4 to 6 T finely chopped parsley, plus more coarsely chopped for serving
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 T plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds (I used toasted sliced almonds)
1 12 to 16-oz jar fire-roasted peppers in water, drained (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 to 4 small garlic cloves, crushed (I used a garlic press)
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
finely grated zest of half of a lemon
crusty bread, for serving, optional (I served it with a sourdough baguette)
Preheat oven to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Using your hands, mix ground turkey, eggs, panko, cumin, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl.
Working one at a time, use a 1 1/2-inch scoop out to ration out the mixture. (I had 28 meatballs.) Place on a plate.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. (I used a large stainless steel “all-in-one” pan.)
Working in 2 batches, cook meatballs until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer skillet with all of the meatballs to oven and bake until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, pulse almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Pulse drained fire-roasted peppers, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in food processor until almost smooth.
Transfer to bowl with almonds and stir in remaining 1/2 cup oil; season Romesco sauce with salt, to taste.
Spoon romesco sauce onto a platter or into shallow bowls; arrange meatballs on top.
Finely grate lemon zest over and scatter coarsely chopped parsley on top. Serve with crusty bread, as desired.
I first heard about this spectacularly easy viral pasta dish from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I think I was the last to know… My daughter has seen countless people make it on TikTok, of course. 😉 She was absolutely thrilled to make it with me!
The original recipe is called “Uunifetapasta,” created by the Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen. The foundation of the dish is a block of feta placed in the center of a baking dish surrounded by seasoned tomatoes. After being baked, the cheese and burst tomatoes are combined to create a creamy and delicious sauce to serve over pasta. Deb Perelman incorporated chickpeas in her version- nice.
This version from the Washington Post, contributed by Aaron Hutcherson, recommended using Greek sheep’s milk feta to maximize the creaminess. I used an enameled cast iron baking pan, modified the proportions and incorporated za’atar to the seasoning on the tomatoes prior to baking. It was super creamy and tasty- and as simple and easy to prepare as expected.
Yield: Serves 6
3 pints (750 to 800 g) grape or cherry tomatoes
5 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
8 T (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 block (10.5 oz) Greek feta cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
za’atar, to taste, optional
17 to 18 oz medium-length dried pasta, such as campanile, rigatoni, or rotini (I used Gigli)
fresh basil leaves, for serving
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the tomatoes, garlic and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking pan.)
Sprinkle the tomatoes with some salt and toss to coat. Sprinkle with za’atar, if using.
Place the feta cheese in the center of the tomatoes and garlic, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the entire dish with red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic has softened and the tomatoes have burst their skins.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir the feta and tomatoes with a wooden spoon until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Mix the sauce with pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks a little dry. (I incorporated quite a bit of pasta water.)
I love yogurt-based marinades because the resulting meat is always juicy and tender. This dish not only had a yogurt marinade, it was made on a single sheet pan and had a bright and spicy “finishing condiment” as well. A winner. 🙂
The rimmed sheet pan did accumulate a lot of pan juices, but the chicken and cauliflower were still perfectly crispy on top. The cauliflower and chickpeas absorbed a lot of wonderful flavors from the pan drippings as well.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Kat Boytsova. I added chickpeas and served the roasted chicken, cauliflower, and beans over rice, drizzled with pan juices. We also had warm naan on the side. The lemony cilantro-onion-jalapeño finishing condiment was essential and absolutely delicious.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Chicken:
3″ piece ginger, peeled
2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (or more) 2% Greek yogurt, for serving (can substitute whole-milk yogurt)
Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.) Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Finely grate 3″ piece ginger into a medium bowl. Transfer all but 1 teaspoon of the grated ginger to a large resealable plastic bag, reserving ginger in bowl for the finishing condiment. (I used a gallon-size bag.)
Add 2 cups whole-milk yogurt to bag with ginger.
Cut 1 lemon in half crosswise and squeeze juice from each half into the yogurt mixture.
Add cayenne and 2 T plus 1 tsp garam masala. Seal bag and shake to combine.
Season 8 chicken pieces with 5 tsp salt. (I placed the chicken on a plate, seasoned with half the salt, turned each piece over, and seasoned with the rest of the salt.)
Place chicken pieces in the marinade bag, seal, and shake again to cover all the pieces.
Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag, which makes sure that all the chicken is covered with the marinade. Let marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or keep in the fridge for up to 4 hours. (I marinated the chicken 3 hours in advance, letting it come closer to room temperature for 20 minutes or so before roasting.)
Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Lay out on a paper towel to dry thoroughly.
Cut 1 head of cauliflower into quarters through stem end. Place quarters cut side down and remove most of the core. The cauliflower florets should fall apart and separate naturally, but you can slice any larger florets in half or into quarters until all florets are about 2″ in size. You want the more or less evenly sized so they’re cook evenly.
Transfer cauliflower and beans to the prepared baking sheet.
Drizzle 3 T oil and 1 1/2 tsp salt over and toss to coat. Spread evenly all the way to edges of pan, making sure that the pieces aren’t too crowded, otherwise they’ll steam instead of roasting. (If you ended up with more cauliflower than can fit in a single layer, take some out and save it for something else.)
Remove chicken from marinade, slightly shaking off excess. Arrange on baking sheet skin side up, nestling into cauliflower. (It’s okay if some marinade clings to the chicken, just make sure it’s not pooling in pan.)
Roast chicken and cauliflower, turning pan halfway through and moving chicken around with tongs to ensure even browning, until chicken skin is blistered, meat is tender all the way to the bone, and cauliflower is nicely charred, 35–40 minutes. (The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees.) Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
To Make the Finishing Condiment and to Serve:
Chop the onion, place it in a colander, and rinse it with cold water. (This removes some of the onion’s sharpness.)
In the bowl of a food processor, finely chop the cilantro.
Add the onion to the food processor, finely chop.
Add onion and cilantro to the bowl with the reserved ginger (from step 2 above).
Finely grate zest of remaining lemon into the bowl. Cut lemon in half and squeeze 1 half into the bowl; reserve remaining half for another use.
Remove seeds and ribs from the jalapeño, if desired, finely chop. Alternatively, it can be thinly sliced into rings. Add to the bowl.
Season with remaining 2 tsp garam masala and 3/4 tsp salt.
Mix with a spoon to combine, taste, and add more salt and lemon juice if necessary.
Arrange chicken, beans, and cauliflower over rice, if desired, on individual plates or on a platter. Drizzle with pan juices, as desired.
Top with lemon condiment and serve with a dollop of yogurt or yogurt to pass at the table, as desired. (I served 2% Greek yogurt with the meal.)
The week of President Biden’s Inauguration, our local newspaper published recipes to celebrate our nation. The article included recipes for the Navy Bean Soup that is served in one of the Senate restaurants and White House Chef (1966-1987) Henry Haller’s Cooked Vegetable Salad. The third recipe was late Representative John Lewis’ recipe for Barbecued Chicken.
This oven-baked barbecued chicken was published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution as Representative John Lewis’ “other legacy.” It was originally published in the AJC in 1995 and was re-published after his death. He started making this dish in 1968, serving it to guests with potato salad, with rice and string beans, or with sweet potatoes and green salad.
I adapted the recipe to used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, modified the proportions and method, and included garlic in the sauce. We ate it with crispy oven fries and green salad. It was a crowd-pleaser in my house too.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon mustard (I used Dijon)
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot sauce (I used chipotle Cholula)
pinch of cayenne pepper
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced, optional
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs OR 1 whole frying chicken, cut up, or equivalent chicken pieces
fresh herbs, for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350, preferably on convection roast. Coat a rimmed baking sheet or 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking oil spray.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine ketchup with mustard, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, pinch of black pepper, onion, and garlic, if using. Blend well.
Put chicken parts into the prepared pan. Spread half of the sauce evenly over chicken if using boneless, skinless chicken or all of the sauce if using bone-in chicken parts.
Bake for 15 minutes for boneless, skinless thighs or for 30 minutes for bone-in skin on chicken parts.
Remove pan from the oven and flip the chicken pieces over if using boneless, skinless chicken; coat with the rest of the sauce. If using bone-in skin-on chicken, basting the chicken with pan juices at this point.
Return the pan to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes for boneless, skinless chicken or 30 minutes for bone-in, skin-on chicken parts.
Remove pan from the oven as set to broil. Broil the chicken, watching carefully, for 1 to 3 minutes, or until browned in spots.
This Thanksgiving, we branched out from our favorite wild mushroom gravy to try this roasted poblano version. It was incredible. Because we roasted a much smaller turkey and made less mashed potatoes, I plan to gobble up any leftover gravy as a dip with tortilla chips. 🙂 It would also be wonderful in tacos or as sauce in a pot pie.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Javier Cabral and Paola Brinseño González. I incorporated a shallot as well as the roasted turkey pan dripping and juices. I also reduced the salt. Next time I will roast the poblanos in advance. I am going to start making it year-round!
Yield: about 2 cups
2 large (3 ounce) poblano chilies
1 T unsalted butter
2 T roasted turkey pan fat (can substitute 2 T unsalted butter)
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 1/2 cups roasted turkey pan drippings plus vegetable, chicken, or turkey stock, divided
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place chilies on an aluminum foil lined baking pan. Place under a broiler, rotating every 5 minutes, until skin is charred on all sides. (Alternatively, using kitchen tongs, hold 1 chile directly over a medium flame of a gas stovetop. Cook until skin is blackened, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining chile.)
Wrap the blackened chilies in the aluminum foil to steam. (Alternatively, place chiles in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap.) Let steam for 10 minutes.
Rub off skin from chiles, removing as much of the blackened skin as you can. (Don’t worry if all of the skin doesn’t come off.) Remove and discard stems and seeds.
Finely dice the roasted chilies.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add shallot and diced chiles. Cook until onion is soft, about 4 minutes.
Combine shallot mixture and 1/2 cup stock in a blender, and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. (I used a Vitamix.)
Place 2 tablespoons of fat from pan drippings (or 2 T butter) in same skillet over medium.
Whisk in flour, and reduce heat to low. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium and add shallot-chile puree and remaining 1 cup pan drippings with stock, and cook, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; add buttermilk. Simmer gently to allow flavors to meld, about 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Note: Poblano peppers can be roasted, peeled, and cut 2 days ahead.
I am a major sauce fan. The sweet onion jam really made this dish special. The meat was also loaded with flavor from the rosemary-mustard-garlic seasoning. I served it with maple syrup roasted acorn squash, and roasted gold and sweet potatoes, carrots, and kohlrabi. It was a weeknight feast.
This recipe was adapted from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski. I increased the amount of garlic and substituted apple cider for bourbon in the onion jam. Delicious.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Maple-Onion Jam:
2 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 pounds red onions, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 4 1/2 cups)(I used 2 large onions)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh apple cider or bourbon
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Rosemary-Mustard Pork Tenderloin:
4 to 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 T grainy or creamy Dijon mustard
1 T plus 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
1 T plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 (1 to 1 1/4-pound) pork tenderloins
1 T unsalted butter
To Make the Maple-Onion Jam:
In a large heavy skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. (I used a stainless steel sauté pan.)
Add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very tender and sweet, 30 to 35 minutes.
Add the maple syrup and cider (or bourbon), increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are jammy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully and lower the heat if necessary.
Remove from the heat and stir in pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: The jam can be made ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
To Make the Rosemary-Mustard Pork Tenderloin:
While the jam cooks, mound the sliced garlic with 1 teaspoon salt on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife, mash and chop into a paste.
Transfer garlic to a small bowl. Stir in the mustard, rosemary, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 2 tsp olive oil.
With a paring knife or kitchen shears, make 12 x-shaped incisions, about 1/8-inch deep, all over each tenderloin.
Rub the tenderloin all over with the garlic mixture, stuffing bits into the incisions.
With a rack in the center, heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast. (This temperature is ideal for roasting vegetables at the same time.)
In a large oven proof skillet, heat the butter and remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and foamy. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Add the tenderloins and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Turn browned side up and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork reads 135 degrees, about 15 to 20 minutes. (I used the oven probe.)
Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the pork into thick slices and serve with the onion jam.