Now for those of you who know me, and know me well…you know I am not a southern girl. In fact, I have never felt more French since I moved to Atlanta. Grits…being so very southern, a staple for many at most dinner tables..needed my attention. So, here’s my take on grits.
Seafood Southern Grits…à la française.
1 small bunch of baby asparagus spears
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
12 large shrimp, uncooked
8 large sea scallops
6 oz fresh haddock, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely minced
1 tbls finely chopped green onions
2 tbls cognac
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1tbls wild porcini sea salt (available at Williams Sonoma)
Few threads of saffron
A note about grits…the best grits I have found are Heirloom Grits (Riverview Blend – Certified Organic) by Virgina Willis “My Southern Pantry”. I follow her directions on the package, using milk instead of water for creamier grits and I add twice the amount of butter, bien sûr, as well as a cup of shredded cheese…Comté!
1. Prepare grits.
2. Sauté Bella mushrooms in a large sauté pan and in butter until nicely browned, remove to plate and set aside. Keep sauté pan on stovetop to use for seafood.
3. Blanche asparagus tips in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, transfer to an ice water bath (this process helps maintain the chlorophyll and beautiful green color…no one likes army green!), remove from ice water bath and set aside on a plate.
4. Sauté and brown scallops in butter over medium-high heat. Add fish and shrimp, do not overcrowd. Cook until fish flakes, shrimp turns pink, and scallops are translucent. Remove seafood from pan, set aside on plate. Careful not to overlook seafood or it will all be tough. Remember, this is going to get reheated in the sauce.
5. In same saucepan, add a tbls of butter and sauté shallots, green onions and garlic. Add cognac (not over an open flame!) and return to heat. Add white wine, reduce by half. Add cream and seasonings, bring to boil.
6. To the sauce, add mushrooms, asparagus, scallops, shrimp and fish…toss.
7. Plate the grits in a shallow bowl or soup plate. I love these oval plates from Williams Sonoma.
Top with 3 shrimp, 2 scallops, fish and scatter the asparagus and mushrooms around top. Garnish with diced tomatoes (peeled and seeded) and sliced green onions. Spoon a little sauce over the top. Maybe even a ribbon of gorgeous olive oil around the grits. Ok, I’m feeling just a little bit southern tonight!