Archive for the 'seafood' Category

Shrimp & Grits with a Fried Egg

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

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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.


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.

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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

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.

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May 21 2014 | grains and one dish and seafood | 43 Comments »

Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayo

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These. Seriously.

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I’ve had my share of salmon burgers – most of them frozen and shrinkwrapped, tasty but dry. I’ve never fallen in love with a salmon burger until today. These were made with fresh salmon – steelhead trout, actually – roughly chopped, which makes all the difference, texture-wise. Doing it in the food processor would turn them into paste – and using a knife took all of five minutes to produce a loose mixture that barely held its shape as a patty, but cooked up nicely as one, turning golden and crusty in a hot cast iron skillet. In about five minutes.

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I’m on a bit of a burger bender these days. (For charity, right? It’s the least I could do. Really.) And while I do adore a good beefy burger, I was challenged to come up with some alternatives to the usual red meat – and I’m so glad I was, or I would never have known these exist. They’re moist and juicy with a crunchy edge – lots of crispy bits – and the layers of veggies, tangy mayo and soft bun? Seriously.

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The tartar sauce: I feel like the term evokes images of pale yellow sauce in a jar, reserved for bad fish & chips. But. It’s really just a tangy mix of mayo and pickles – gerkhins and such – which sounds to me exactly what I’d love on any burger. This ramekin of mayo, lemon juice and capers is so much better than I imagined, I may have finished the lot, spooned directly over slabs of ripe tomato and cucumber, cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler.

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I’m already plotting when we can be together again.

Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayo

Adapted from Ricardo – with massive thanks.

1 lb skinless salmon or steelhead trout
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup soft breadcrumbs
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grainy mustard
salt and pepper
canola or olive oil, for cooking

Caper Mayo:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
freshly ground black pepper

soft buns
thinly sliced cucumber

Roughly chop the salmon or trout, and combine it in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Shape the mixture into four patties and place them gently into the pan; cook until deep golden on one side, then flip and cook on the other side – they should cook through and be crusty and golden in about 5 minutes.

To make the caper mayo, stir together the mayo, lemon juice, capers and pepper. Spread on the buns and top with salmon patties, tomato, lettuce and thinly sliced cucumber – and a little more caper mayo. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

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May 06 2014 | on the grill and seafood | 22 Comments »

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