Monday, May 10, 2010
Having spent equal parts of my life in the Southeast and the Northeast, I was eager to make the recipe for shrimp and grits from the Momofuku cookbook. Keeping the central components of the classic Southern dish intact while adding a small dash of New York edge, Momofuku's shrimp and grits achieves the right blend of North vs. South, something this blogger has been trying to achieve his whole confused life. As difficult as it can sometimes be to tame New York 'tude with Southern charm, David Chang shows that it's pretty easy to do so on a plate.
The hardest part about this shrimp and grits dish is sourcing the ingredients. I had the good fortune of finding Anson Mills grits--the same South Carolina grits that Momofuku and seemingly every other higher-end restaurant in America with a grits dish on its menu use--at Formaggio Essex in New York's Essex Street Market. It's worth it to search these grits out or splurge and order them online; they are the best grits out there, tasting as if the corn used to make them had been shucked just days before the grits were ground.
Aside from the grits, the only other ingredient you need to seek out is konbu, or dried kelp, that goes into the Bacon Dashi in which you boil the grits. Fortunately, New York has no shortage of Japanese markets that carry konbu, but if you can't find it, you should be able to get by with boiling the grits in chicken broth.
Ingredients and some splattering grits aside, this Momofuku's dish is easy to pull off. Boil the grits, stir in a stick of butter (I didn't say this was healthy), cook the bacon, sautè the shrimp, poach some eggs, and stir it all together with a few splashes of soy sauce and some scallions and you have an excellent, North-meets-South-meets-Far-East meal.