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.
I served this tasty dish for our Mardi Gras dinner followed by our essential celebratory King Cake for dessert. It was festive and delicious.
I admittedly used Cajun seasoning instead of Creole Seasoning- gasp! After making the dish, I read about the similarities and differences between the Cajun and Creole cuisines. Both cuisines use a roux, the “holy trinity” composed of onions, bell peppers, and celery sautéed in oil, and both are from Southern Louisiana. Cajun food incorporates more smoked meats and rice, such as jambalaya, and is from more rural parts of the region whereas Creole cuisine, such as étouffée, is from New Orleans. I included the recipe for the homemade Creole seasoning below. (for next time!)
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Vallery Lomas. I modified the cooking times and doubled the garlic. I also used store-bought seasoning and omitted the dried basil. The shrimp was cooked perfectly.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Creole Seasoning: (Optional)
1tablespoon smoked paprika
1tablespoon chili powder
1teaspoon onion powder
1teaspoon garlic powder
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired)
1/2teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2teaspoon black pepper
For the Shrimp:
1pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used large tail-on shrimp)
2teaspoons homemade or store-bought Creole seasoning, divided (I used Slap ya Mama)
1/4cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick / 4 T)
1/3cup (5 T) all-purpose flour
1medium or large yellow onion, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
2celery ribs, thinly sliced
1green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 to 8garlic cloves, minced (I used a food processor)
1(15-ounce) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 to 2teaspoons hot sauce, to taste (optional) (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
1teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 T fresh thyme)
1/2teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 T fresh oregano)
1/2teaspoon dried basil (or 1/2 T fresh basil)
2dried bay leaves
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4cup)
1/4cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
steamed rice, for serving (I used white Basmati rice)
Make the optional Creole seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. The seasoning makes about 1/4 cup; store it in a closed container in a cool, dry place. (Only 2 teaspoons are used in this dish.)
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Then toss the raw shrimp with 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning and set aside.
In a Dutch oven or large, heavy skillet with a lid, melt the butter over medium-low heat. (I used a low and wide enameled cast iron pot.)
Sprinkle the flour on top and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until a roux the color of peanut butter forms, about 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully- if the roux burns it cannot be saved.
Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper, increase the heat to medium and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Stir in 1/3 cup water, then the tomato sauce, hot sauce (if using), sugar, thyme, oregano, basil (if using), bay leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally to make sure that the bottom doesn’t burn. (If needed, add more water.)
Once the stew has thickened, add the seasoned shrimp and simmer until opaque and cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, uncovered.
Serve over steamed rice sprinkled with sliced scallions and chopped parsley.
My herb garden has been beyond fabulous this year. I wanted to make sure that I made this dish before my beautiful basil faded away.
This dish was described as being “more addictive than Doritos.” 🙂 The recipe is from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I don’t usually follow a recipe precisely, but did on this occasion because I had never used Fresno chilies. Oops. The dish was tasty but beyond spicy. I regret not tasting my chilies for heat intensity. I will certainly do that next time, and will follow the recipe as written with milder chilies or remove the seeds and ribs for spicier chilies.
The spicy-sweet sauce was delicious and I still enjoyed it. This dish also comes together very quickly and is perfect for a weeknight meal. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with tomato slices on the side. The tomatoes really helped offset the heat. 🙂
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
3 Fresno chiles, coarsely chopped (seeds and ribs removed, to taste)
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T fish sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
4 T vegetable or grapeseed oil, divided
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, patted dry
2 cups basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
lime wedges, for serving
1 cup of rice (cooked in 2 cups stock or water), for serving
Blend chiles, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, salt, and 3 T oil in a blender until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
Transfer marinade to a medium bowl and add shrimp; toss to coat. Let sit 10 minutes.
Heat remaining 1 T oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high.
Using tongs, just when oil begins to smoke and working in batches if needed, add shrimp, leaving marinade behind, and cook, turning once, until lightly charred around the edges, about 1 minute per side.
Remove pan from heat. Add basil and toss vigorously until basil is wilted.
Transfer shrimp mixture to a platter. Serve with rice and lime wedges alongside.
This is another incredible and full-flavored grilled meat dish. I used the marinade on boneless, skinless chicken thighs but it would also be wonderful with shrimp or flank or skirt steak according to the original recipe. I love that the residual marinade is cooked down into a sauce for serving.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Molly Baz. I marinated ten chicken thighs but would add up to five more next time. I also used a mixture of harissa and sambal oelek for heat. Fabulous.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger
5 large garlic cloves
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek and/or harissa)
Finely grate ginger and garlic into a medium bowl.
Add coconut milk, chili paste, lime juice, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons oil and whisk to combine.
Add chicken and toss to coat. Let sit at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip back into bowl, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2–3 minutes.
Clean and generously oil grate of grill (if there are a few flare-ups while you do so, not to worry, they will burn off).
Grill chicken, turning once and basting occasionally with marinade, until you see some good grill marks and chicken is cooked through, 8–10 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a platter. Brush with remaining marinade. Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges alongside.
This summery version of shrimp scampi is an amazing upgrade of this classic dish. Best of all, it is prepared in one pan. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle; I modified the proportions. I served it over pasta, but it could also be served with crusty bread. Delicious.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 21 to 25 shrimp per pound)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 (or more)cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 4 to 5 ears)
7 large garlic cloves, minced (I used my special CSA hard neck garlic)
1/2teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4cup dry white wine
2tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus wedges for serving (optional)
5tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
3tablespoons chopped parsley or chives, or torn basil leaves
12 to 16 oz linguini fini, spaghetti or bucatini, for serving, if desired
crusty bread, for serving, if desired
If serving over pasta, prepare per the package directions while the rest of the dish is being prepared.
Pat the shrimp very dry and season with salt and pepper.
In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and lightly golden in spots, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate.
Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until they start to blister in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the tomatoes burst and the corn is golden in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until you smell garlic, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat to medium, and add the wine and lemon juice, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until nearly evaporated, then add the butter and stir until melted.
Add the shrimp and its juices and stir until warmed through. (If the sauce breaks and looks greasy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water and stir until emulsified.)
Remove from heat, add the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with extra lemon for squeezing over, if you like.
Serve over pasta or with crusty bread, if desired.
For years, this was the most popular recipe on Food and Wine.com. It was included in the 40th Anniversary edition of Food and Wine magazine titled “Our 40 Best-Ever Recipes.” I have tried several recipes from this wonderful collection.
This is an easy version of this classic and popular Indian dish. I especially loved it because the sauce was so amazing. The original recipe makes a note that the marinade and sauce are also delicious with shrimp, lamb, and vegetables.
The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Grace Parisi. I doubled the garlic and used slivered almonds. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with warm naan and sautéed spinach. Yum!
One 35-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
pinch of granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
warm naan and/or rice, for serving
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat.
Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape off as much of the marinade as possible.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on a baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil.
Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes.
Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer.
Stir in the chicken and pan drippings; simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and serve.
Note: The Chicken Tikka Masala can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.
Compared to my last post, this pressure cooker biryani is an even faster version of this full-flavored Indian dish- very tasty but possibly a little less authentic.
There are a couple points to note in order for this dish to be a success. It is very important to use the largest shrimp available to prevent over-cooking. Secondly, when adding the water to the pot, it must be boiling in order for the rice to cook in the allotted time frame.
This recipe was adapted from The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Chandra Ram via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the amount of garlic, omitted the curry leaves, and used a stove-top pressure cooker instead of an Instant Pot. Nice.
Yield: Serves 6
2cups Basmati rice
2teaspoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1Serrano chile, minced
2tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1tablespoon minced garlic (I used 4 large cloves)
2teaspoons kosher salt
1teaspoon Chile powder, preferably Kashmiri (I used Ancho)
1teaspoon ground turmeric
1teaspoon smoked paprika
10fresh curry leaves, torn into pieces, optional (if available)(can substitute curry powder, to taste)
1 ½cups boiling water
1 ½pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 or fewer per pound, see note), peeled and deveined
1(15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more wedges for serving
½cup chopped fresh cilantro
Place the rice in a bowl and cover with 2 cups water. Let stand for 20 minutes, then drain and rinse.
Heat oil in the pot of a pressure cooker (set to the sauté function set on high in an electric pot), until oil is shimmering.
Add onion; cook for about 4 minutes, until softened.
Stir in Serrano chile, ginger, garlic, salt, chile powder, turmeric, paprika and curry leaves (if using); cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Stir in boiling water; using a wooden spoon, stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Stir in soaked rice, shrimp and tomatoes (with juice).
Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Quick-release the pressure (on my pot, I rotate the release valve 90 degrees), stir lime juice into the rice, then cover the pressure cooker with a kitchen towel and the lid; let it sit for 5 minutes.
Give rice another stir, then taste and add more salt, if needed.
Transfer to a platter, garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges on the side.
Note: Make sure to use jumbo shrimp or larger for this recipe. Look for “16/20” or “U/15” on the package; this indicates how many shrimp there are per pound.