Cookbook review: Taste of Treme
'Taste of Tremé: Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food from New Orleans’s Famous Neighborhood of Jazz' by Todd-Michael St. Pierre is stuffed with doable recipes, from breakfast to dessert.
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3/4 cup gritsSkip to next paragraph
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp)
A quick note: Time the cooking of the grits and the shrimp so they’re both done at the same time, based on the kind of grits you use.
Cook the shrimp. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add bell pepper, onion, jalapeño pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Be careful not to brown or burn the garlic.
Add Creole/Cajun spice and shrimp, stirring to combine, and cook for two minutes, turning the shrimp halfway through. At this point, the skillet will seem alarmingly dry. Don’t worry. Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional three minutes, stirring frequently. The tomatoes will release their juices; use them to scrape up any browned bits and incorporate them into the dish.
Meanwhile, cook the grits. Bring the water to a rapid boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and then slowly stir in the grits. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low so the grits just simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until grits are smooth and thickened—30 to 45 minutes for old-fashioned grits, five to seven minutes for quick grits.
Don’t go crazy on the thickening – like polenta, they will continue to thicken as they cool. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar until it completely melts into the grits.
Assemble the dish. Spoon grits into individual shallow bowls. Top with vegetables and shrimp and serve.
Pick a pepper. The original recipe calls for a tabasco pepper. I went with the more readily available jalapeño, which is also lower on the heat scale than the tabasco (but I didn’t seed my pepper, as the recipe called for with the tabasco). You could also use a Serrano pepper, if you want more heat.
Creole/Cajun spice. St. Pierre’s Suck da Heads and Pinch da Tails Creole Spice sounds like an excellent mix (and authentically, it uses onion powder and garlic powder, two regulars in New Orleans cookbooks, even when the recipe uses fresh onion and garlic, as does this one). I used this recipe for Emeril’s Creole Seasoning, a slightly stripped down version. (I switched teaspoons for tablespoons, reducing my total mixture to 1/3 the original recipe and still have plenty left for other uses.) In a pinch, you can use store-bought Creole/Cajun spice.
Related post on Blue Kitchen: Everyday French made easy: Roasted shrimp and green lentils
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