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Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

Shrimp Grits 2 Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

I came back home from Miami with a pound of grits in my bag, just because I could.

Shrimp Grits 1 Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

Grits are popular in the southern states – they’re made of cornmeal, simmered until thick, just like cream of wheat. (Did you love cream of wheat as a kid? I still do. I rarely have it, in order to preserve that taste of nostalgia.) You can simmer your grits with milk to make it creamier, and add soft roasted garlic or minced jalapenos to spice it up, or a big handful of grated aged cheddar in this case, to provide a bed for buttery, spicy shrimp.

grits Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

I always forget how quickly I can cook up a pan of shrimp – with butter, garlic and a shake of dry barbecue rub, they’re done in under three minutes. How much faster can food get? And while I have a pan buttery and hot, it’s too tempting to crack in an egg to catch those flavourful bits. More drippy yolk for those cheesy grits to catch.

Shrimp Grits 3 Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

2 cups water
1 cup milk
3/4 cup grits
pinch salt
1 cup grated aged Gouda or white cheddar
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

Shrimp:
1/2 lb. raw, peeled, tail-on shrimp
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 Tbsp. dry barbecue rub (optional)

fresh Italian parsley, torn or chopped
eggs, for frying (optional)

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and milk to a simmer. Slowly whisk in the grits and add the salt; cook, whisking often over medium heat, for 5-10 minutes, or until thickened to the consistency of cream of wheat. Stir in the grated cheese and butter and season with salt and pepper.

Set a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter and oil. When the foam subsides, add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the shrimp and sprinkle with barbecue rub. Cook, turning the shrimp as you need to, moving them around the pan, just until they turn opaque. Divvy the grits between shallow bowls and top them with shrimp. If you like, crack some eggs into the pan (as many as people you’re feeding) and cook them sunny side up or over easy in the spicy butter in the pan. Place them alongside the shrimp and dribble any butter left in the pan overtop. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

button print gry20 Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

May 21 2014 | grains and one dish and seafood | 128 Comments »

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

ham mushroom tart 11 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

My youngest sister is a really fantastic cook. She’s a total cake boss and makes other delicious things, like baked yams with piles of butter and brown sugar, roast hams with wedges of Bosc pear, and this mushroom tart, which made an appearance at the last few family dinners and was so good I would have gladly forsaken the turkey (and the stuffing, and the mashed potatoes) for it. It’s a rich, dense, cheesy-creamy-buttery tart – the sort every 80′s quiche aspires to be.

mushroom tart Collage Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere
mushroom tart Collage 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

If I called this a ham quiche, it wouldn’t do it justice. It deserves more words. It’s no quiche Lorraine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

My sisters’ are long and elegant, baked in rectangular tart tins with removable bottoms and cut crosswise into slices. Mine is round because much rummaging around in the basement resulted in the discovery of many spiders and one Santa suit but zero tart pans of the rectangular variety. I used mine as a vehicle for leftover ham bits – and I figured if two thirds of a cup of grated Gruyère is good, a full cup is better, and a cup and a half even trumps that. If Gruyère isn’t your favourite, I imagine aged Gouda or white cheddar would be equally fab.

ham mushroom tart 5 585x408 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

I used rosemary because that’s what was here, and fresh crimini mushrooms (they look like brown button mushrooms) rather than reconstitute the dried kind, which was called for in the original recipe, but I’ve never been much fond of doing, with all the rubberiness and the gritty-bottomed leftover mushroom water. Really, you could sauté any number of ingredients (spinach! kale! onions! peppers!) and spread them out over the bottom of this buttery crust, pour the rich egg custard overtop and bake it, scattered with more cheese. But this – it’s like rich mushroom soup pie. In a very good way.

ham mushroom tart 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Inspired by Bon Appétit, May 1994

Crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup cold water

Filling:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb cremini, brown or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary and/or thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Cognac, sherry or brandy (optional)
1/2 cup finely diced ham
1 cup grated Gruyère, aged Gouda or white cheddar
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg

To make the crust, in a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) combine the flour and salt, then pulse or blend in the butter until almost combined – the mixture should resemble coarse meal. Add the water and stir until the dough comes together. Let it sit on the countertop for 20 minutes to rest – or stick it in the fridge if it’s warm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 10-12-inch circle – just bigger than a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit it into the pan and fold the edges over inward, making a double-thick crust; trim to about 1/8-inch above the edge of the pan. (I used a larger pan and so didn’t do this – just trimmed it to within 1/8 inch without folding it over.) Preheat oven to 375°F and chill the crust for 20-30 minutes.

To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms until soft; add the rosemary, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until all the liquid has cooked off and the mushrooms are starting to turn golden. If you like, add a shot of Cognac, sherry or brandy and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the ham.

Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Cover with the mushroom mixture. Whisk together the cream, yolks and egg – add a few extra snippets of thyme if you like – and pour the custard over the mushrooms. Scatter with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set and golden. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serves 12.

pixel Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere
button print gry20 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

April 22 2014 | appetizers and breakfast and one dish | 12 Comments »

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