Thursday, April 24, 2008

Food For Thought Thursdays

A signature southern dish, Shrimp and Grits, get a spicy update. When the spicy ginger tickles your tongue, cool down with Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet with Lemon Poppyseed Cones.

Spicy Shrimp and Grits
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 medium ginger lobes
Equal parts all purpose flour and panko bread crumbs (1.5 cups, total)
1 egg
16 oz. high-quality ginger ale
Canola or peanut oil
1 cup grits (traditional stone ground, if you can find them. Here, I used quick grits. Instant grits are totally unacceptable)
3 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Srirache (sp) sauce (in a pinch, a good buffalo sauce will do nicely)

Maple sugar
Additional ginger ale

Peel and devein the shrimp, and peel and slice the ginger. (When peeling ginger, it's best to use a spoon, scraping the peel from the flesh. It works very well and enables you to get into the roots' nooks and crannies.) Place the shrimp in a non-reactive container, pour in enough ginger ale to cover the shrimp and add the sliced ginger. Let this sit for at least six hours.

Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure you have everything set for frying the shrimp. Beat the egg and leave in a bowl large enough to fit most of the shrimp. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and panko and add a dash of salt. Pour about two inches of oil into the bottom of a sturdy pot.

Remove the shrimp from the ginger ale and pat dry.

Make the grits as per the directions on the package, though shy away from butter and cream for this recipe. For quick grits, whisk 1 cup (dry) grits into 3 cups of rapidly boiling water. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for five to seven minutes, then mix in the cayenne pepper.

As the grits finish cooking, heat the oil you poured earlier to 350F. Toss the shrimp in the egg mixture to coat them, then dredge in the flour and panko mixture. When the grits have finished cooking, remove them from the heat. Then, begin frying the shrimp. Work in batches and drain on paper towels or a wire cooling rack. They fry up very quickly--about a minute per batch, so you’ll want to stay on top of things. To plate, spoon a dollop of grits onto the center of a plate, place several shrimp on top of the grits and hit the whole thing with a couple squirts of the srirache. The mixture of sweetness from the ginger ale and spice from the hot sauce is wonderful, complex, and just the thing for a breezy spring evening on the patio.*

Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet
80 ml water
130 grams sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
225 ml buttermilk
60 ml lemon juice

In a saucepan, bring the first three ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Add the buttermilk and lemon juice once it has chilled in the fridge and churn in your ice cream machine. Transfer to a bowl or ice cream container and freeze.

Poppy Seed Lemon Ice Cream Cones
50 grams butter
50 grams sugar
1/4 tsp lemon zest
50 grams egg whites
50 grams flour

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Add the flour and mix. Add the egg whites and mix until thoroughly combined. Transfer this paste to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make a template for your cones cutting circles out of a plastic placemat that is about 1/4" thick. Use a round cookie cutter to trace a circle on the mat and cut with the help of an xacto knife. Place the template mat on a silpat. Spread a very thin layer of the tuile paste on the circle and remove the mat. You will be left with a disk of tuile batter. Sprinkle poppyseeds on top of the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. remove from the oven and form a cone right away while the tuile is still hot and pliable. Store them in an airtight container until ready to use.*

*Recipes and photos courtesy of Winepairings and Cannelle et Vanille respectively

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