Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year's Eve Top Chef Dinner - Round 1

I am not a huge fan of New Year's but I was certainly happy to see 2008 move on out the door as a financial sector employee and I figured a 2009 celebration was worthy of some culinary delights! I served this on small plates as an appetizer.

For the Shrimp:
18 pc black tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used Giant Eagle farm raised shrimp that was already cooked and thawed and then sauteed it in butter, paprika and black pepper. I added the bacon on the side and did not wrap the shrimp. Not quite as elegant but the flavor was still there.)
1/2T Kosher salt
9 bacon slices
2t cracked black pepper
Grapeseed oil for searing (80/20....olive oil works just fine!)

For the Grits:
2qt chicken stock
1qt milk
1/4 stick unsalted butter
1qt instant grits (I could only find quick grits and I used milk and broth to cook but followed the directions on the grits box to ensure the proper amount of liquid.)
2 cups grilled corn kernels
1 cup poblano peppers, small diced
2 cups aged white cheddar cheese
3T chopped cilantro
2T Kosher salt
2T cracked black pepper

For the Chipotle-Tomato Butter:1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2T chopped garlic
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
3T chipotle peppers (in Adobo)
1t black peppercorns
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 stick unsalted butter1/2 bunch cilantro1 lemon, juiced
2t Kosher salt

Shrimp Prep:Season shrimp with a little Kosher salt. Using a hot grill, quickly mark each shrimp. Remove from grill and allow time to cool. Shrimp should still be uncooked. When cool enough to handle, wrap each shrimp with a half piece of bacon. Season with cracked black pepper. Sear each shrimp in grapeseed oil till crispy on both sides. Serve when rest of dish is ready.

Grits Prep:Using a deep saucepot combine chicken stock and milk. Bring to a simmer, add butter, and allow time for it to dissolve. Slowly whisk in grits a little at a time. When grits begin to thicken, lower heat. Switch to a spatula and fold in the rest of the ingredients. Adjust for addition seasonings if needed. If grits are too thick, add more chicken stock.

For the Chipotle-Tomato Butter Sauce: In a saucepot, sauté onions and garlic over medium heat. Next, add tomatoes, chipotle peppers and peppercorns. Continue to cook for another three minutes. Deglaze with chicken stock and lower heat. Cook for 5 minutes then place in a blender; blend till smooth. Place liquid back in saucepot and over low heat mount with butter, whisking in a little at a time. Add cilantro and season with lemon juice and salt. Turn off heat and allow 5 minutes to steep cilantro. Strain through fine mesh strainer and reserve warm till time to serve.
To Plate:Place small amount of grits in the center of a large plate. Drizzle sauce around grits. Place three pieces of shrimp around grits. Serve.

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