Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Momofuku Shrimp and Grits

This should be the last post from Momofuku for a while, and is one of the two dishes (along with the pork buns) that I knew I had to make as soon as possible when I first read through this book.
For my money, this is the most seductive recipe photo in the book, as well... Mmmm... Oozing egg yolk...
This recipe is pretty much just a matter of getting components ready and then assembling. I took the easy route and made bacon dashi with which to cook my grits, but I imagine this is even more awesome if you make raman broth. I'll definitely make sure to have a couple extra cups of ramen broth when the time comes for me to make something starring said broth, and I'll try this dish again then. In the meantime, I don't have the freezer space (or, frankly, the inclination) right now to make a whole batch of ramen broth just to use 2 cups of it to cook grits... Anyway, the bacon dashi just requires konbu, bacon, and water...
After some steeping and some simmering, you have your dashi. This goes into the fridge so the fat can solidify and be easily removed. I prepped this on Saturday while putzing around in the kitchen doing other things.
The next component I prepared were the slow-poached eggs. I broke out the SousVide Maestro and set this up in the den so I could babysit the temperature (which remained admirably stable, but I wanted to keep an eye on it since this was my first time with the Maestro). Here's the control box (sitting on my desk chair):
and the water bath (sitting on a bin full of hay):
The silicone steamer that my mom sent me was perfect for this. It holds the food and temperature probes in the middle of the water bath and seemed to keep temperatures more even than when I was fiddling with this pre-steamer. The eggs came out perfectly:
and went into the fridge to wait for dinner. It's good to know I can trust the SousVide Maestro unattended when I make these eggs in the future. (Thanks, T!) One product I had to order just for this dish was a package of Anson Mills grits.
These are not the cheapest grits around, but I've read several cookbooks saying that there's no point making polenta or grits with products from anyone else, so I decided to give it a try. The raw grits were gorgeous, so I felt like this was a good call as soon as I opened the package.
The grits soak for at least 8 hours in water, then are brought to a simmer with the bacon dashi and whisked constantly for a few minutes before being seasoned and moved to lower heat where they are whisked only occasionally until fully cooked. Just before service, (Amish) butter is whisked in to finish the grits.
I went off-recipe a little with the shrimp, since I couldn't resist these lovely U-6 tiger prawns...
...which I also couldn't resist throwing on the grill instead of pan-frying... I promise to do it Chang's way next time, but I have no regrets about the end result from doing this part my way... I cooked off a little Blood Farm bacon while grilling the prawns, and things were pretty much ready to assemble.
Once the eggs are re-warmed and the scallions are sliced, this is the bowl of yumminess in front of you:
I tasted the grits before adding the butter, and was a little worried about how this would turn out... They just didn't seem that impressive for being the base of the dish. I don't know if it was the magic of Amish butter or some alchemy in bringing these ingredients together, but this dish seriously rocked. Every component perfectly complimented every other component in each bite. Plus, it's super-pretty. I can't wait to try making the grits with ramen broth, but it's good to know this turns out so well with quick-and-cheap bacon dashi. This was actually my first time eating any version of shrimp and grits, and I think it was a pretty spectacular version to start with... It was a pretty good run with this cookbook. Lots of success and no disappointments... Up next is a Rick Bayless posole that I've been looking forward to since I put it on my calendar last month...

1 comment:

mr. pineapple man said...

i just bought gombu today, so I'll try this recipe! thanks for posting!