Posts Tagged ‘Fine Cooking Magazine’

Cobb Salad with Fresh Herbs

July 26th, 2013 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Chicken, Grilling/BBQ, Main Dish, Salad, Summer, Vegetable


Who can resist a good Cobb salad? The combo of smoky bacon, perfectly ripe avocados, tomatoes and blue cheese mixed with salad greens is an American classic!. The updates in this version come from the use of grilled chicken, pine nuts, fresh herbs, and a tangy Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette. The salad is hearty, flavorful and makes a perfect summertime meal!

I use a good-quality, thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon. You can cook the bacon and make the vinaigrette ahead of time then refrigerate both until you’re ready to make the salad. The recipe calls for Boston lettuce but I used a combo of that and some mixed baby greens.

I like to support local companies so I usually use a blue cheese from Oregon’s own award winning  Rogue Creamery.  The recipe calls for Roquefort but you can use your favorite kind of blue cheese, or substitute feta or goat cheese if you prefer.

Serve the salad with some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Cobb Salad with Fresh Herbs
 -recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

This update on the classic Cobb Salad features mustard-crusted grilled chicken, crunchy pine nuts, and tons of fresh flavor from the mint, chives and parsley. Yields 6 large dinner salads.

2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (7 to 8 oz. each), tenderloins separated if still attached
2 heads Boston lettuce (about 12 oz. total), trimmed, torn into bite-size pieces, washed, and dried
1-1/2 cups lightly packed fresh parsley leaves, torn if large
3/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, torn if large
1 recipe Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette  (see below)
3 large avocados
2-1/2 cups (about 1 lb.) halved grape tomatoes
1 heaping cup (6 oz.) crumbled Roquefort
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
12 slices bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled
1/2 cup sliced chives (3/4 inch long)
Grill the chicken: Heat a gas grill to medium high. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Grill until well marked and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side for the breasts, and 2 to 3 minutes per side for the tenderloins. Let cool and cut into small dice.

Assemble the salads: Set 6 large dinner plates on your counter. Combine the lettuce, parsley, and mint in a large mixing bowl. Toss with just enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly, 4 to 5 Tbs. Season with a little salt and pepper and toss again. Divide among the plates, arranging the lettuce in a circle with a small hole in the center.

Peel, pit, and cut the avocados into medium dice and toss them in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs. of the vinaigrette. Combine about a sixth each of the avocados, tomatoes, Roquefort, pine nuts, and chicken in the mixing bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper and toss with about 1 Tbs. of the vinaigrette. (You won’t use all the dressing.) Mound the mixture in the center of a salad. Repeat for the rest of the salads. Sprinkle on the bacon and chives and serve.

Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette
Yields 1-1/4 cups.

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a glass measuring cup or a jar with a tight-fitting lid and whisk or vigorously shake to combine. You can store the vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; let come to room temperature and shake or whisk before using.



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Crab & Avocado Salad

May 7th, 2013 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Quick Cooking, Recipes, Salad, Seafood


This light and refreshing salad is perfect for Mother’s Day, or a light lunch or dinner. Because the flavors are so simple, fresh crab (not canned) is best in this recipe and definitely worth the splurge! The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled (or more) making it perfect for Spring and Summer entertaining. Serve with crusty artisan bread from a local bakery. Enjoy!

Crab & Avocado Salad
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine
Serves four as a first course; two for lunch.
3 Tbs. mayonnaise
2 Tbs. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice; more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black or white pepper
8 oz. crabmeat, preferably lump, picked over to remove bits of shell
1/2 cup finely chopped celery from the inner ribs and leaves
3 Tbs. chopped fresh chives (1/2-inch pieces)
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce, washed (for lining the plates)

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium bowl, mix the crabmeat, celery, and 2 Tbs. of the chives. Fold in the dressing gently so as not to break up the crabmeat. Gently fold in the avocado. Taste for salt and pepper. Line four salad plates with lettuce leaves, heap a scoop of the crab salad on each, and garnish with the remaining chives. Sprinkle each serving with 1/2 tsp. lemon juice and serve.


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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze

March 14th, 2013 by andrea | 2 Comments | Filed in Baking, Cakes, Chocolate, Christmas, Dessert, Holidays, Recipes

If you’re looking for a chocolate dessert that that will make you swoon then look no further. This wonderful cake is smooth and rich, and perfect for entertaining (Christmas, Valentines, bridal showers, dinner parties, etc.)! While easy to make, the cake does require time in the fridge (about 7 hours) so plan accordingly.

Before serving the cake, drizzle each plate with a little Raspberry Sauce for a beautiful presentation. Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
-recipe by Abigail Johnson Dodge – Fine Cooking Magazine
Drop-dead delicious, this cake is a pure chocolate indulgence. Yields one 9-inch cake that serves twelve generously.

For the cake:
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (2-1/4 cups)
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into six pieces; more for the pan
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. table salt
3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy; more for the pan

For the glaze:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup)
1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9×2-inch round cake pan and line it with a round of parchment. Lightly butter the parchment and the sides of the pan and dust with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess.

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a medium metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove the bowl from the water bath and set aside to cool slightly. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 Tbs. water. Beat on medium high speed until the mixture is very foamy, pale in color, and doubled in volume, 2 min. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually pour in the chocolate mixture. Increase the speed to medium high and continue beating until well blended, about 30 seconds. Add the cocoa powder and mix on medium low just until blended, about 30 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out looking wet with small gooey clumps, 40 to 45 min. Don’t overcook. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 min. If necessary, gently push the edges down with your fingertips until the layer is even. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Cover the cake pan with a wire rack and invert. Remove the pan and parchment and let the cake cool completely. The cake may look cinched in around its sides, which is fine. Transfer to a cake plate. Cover and refrigerate the cake until it’s very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Glaze the cake:
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a medium metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour the warm glaze over the chilled cake and, using an offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set, 20 to 40 min. Before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, 20 to 30 min. To serve, cut the cake into small, if not tiny, slices using a hot knife.

Tip: To slice this cake (or any dense, sticky cake), heat the knife first, either by dipping it in a tall container of very hot water or by holding it under hot running water for a few seconds. Then wipe it dry before cutting the cake. The knife will cool quickly, and the cake will start sticking, so expect to rinse and repeat several times. A crème brûlée torch, if you have one, is also handy for heating up a knife.  


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Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken Thighs

September 17th, 2012 by andrea | No Comments | Filed in Chicken, Grilling/BBQ, Indian, Main Dish, Recipes

I love Indian food so I was eager to try this recipe for Tandoori-Style Chicken Thighs. The grilled chicken is tender and flavored with fragrant spices. Let the chicken marinate for several hours (up to 12) for best flavor. Serve with basmati rice and a cucumber salad.

Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken Thighs
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine 

 This recipe can also be prepared as kebabs (see the instructions below). Serves four to six. 

1-1/2 Tbs. ground cumin
1-1/2 tsp. curry powder
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 Tbs. vegetable oil; more for the grill
3 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup regular or nonfat plain yogurt
2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 large, 10 medium, or 12 small), trimmed of excess fat
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Mix the cumin, curry powder, salt, garlic powder, ginger, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Heat the oil in an 8-inch skillet over low heat. Stir the spices into the oil and heat until they bubble and become fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the spice blend to the bowl and stir in the vinegar and then the yogurt. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat evenly. Let sit 10 min. or cover and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

When ready to cook, prepare a hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill with all burners on medium high for 10 min. Clean the hot grate with a wire brush and then lubricate it with an oil-soaked paper towel. Put the chicken on the grate and grill (covered on a gas grill or uncovered over a charcoal fire) until one side has dark grill marks, 5 to 6 min. for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs. Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other sides and cooked through, 5 to 6 min. longer for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs. Move the thighs to a platter and let rest 4 to 5 min. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

To prepare as kebabs: Trim the thighs and then slice them lengthwise into 1-1/2- to 2-inch-wide strips. Toss with the flavorings; then thread the chicken onto six 8- or 12-inch skewers (soak wood skewers in water for at least 20 min. first), folding each strip in half as you skewer it. If some strips are very thick, cut them in half crosswise rather than folding them so that all the pieces of chicken are roughly the same size. Grill the kebabs, turning them every 4 to 5 min. as dark grill marks form, until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes total.


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Summer Wheat Berry Salad

August 17th, 2012 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Recipes, Salad, Side Dish, Summer, Vegetarian

This simple summery salad is packed with fiber and flavor, and was the perfect lunch on a recent picnic at the beach. I especially love the texture of the chewy wheat berries. It’s also a versatile salad that you can build on — Feta or goat cheese would be great additions, as well as green or Kalamata olives.

I used fresh red pepper instead of roasted, and some mini heirloom tomatoes that I got at Trader Joe’s. Since I was using fresh basil in the salad, I went with lemon juice in the vinaigrette (instead of lime juice). I served the salad on a mixture of arugula and spinach…yum!

Summer Wheat Berry Salad
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine 

Wheat berries have a delicious nutty flavor. Look for ones labeled “soft,” which will cook more quickly than the hard variety. Serves six.

1 cup soft wheat berries  
6 cups water (or vegetable or chicken stock) with 1/2 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf 
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup diced roasted red bell pepper
2 Tbs. capers, drained and chopped 
3 Tbs. sliced scallion (white and green parts)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil or cilantro

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 to 1 tsp. finely minced garlic
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. white-wine vinegar 
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the garnish:
Young greens such as arugula, red mustard, cress, mizuna, or a mix

In a heavy saucepan with a lid, combine the wheat berries, water or stock, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer partially covered until the wheat berries are pleasantly chewy, which may take anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and let the berries cool in the liquid. When cool, drain off all the liquid and put the berries into a large mixing bowl. Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, roasted pepper, capers, scallion, almonds, and basil or cilantro.

Whisk together the garlic, lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss with the salad. Arrange the greens on chilled plates and top with the salad.


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Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Rub and Horseradish-Chive Sauce

June 30th, 2012 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Fish, Grilling/BBQ, Main Dish, Recipes, Seafood, Summer

I love, love, love salmon that’s been cooked on a cedar plank! Every time I’ve used this cooking technique, the fish has been moist and delicious with a wonderful hint of smoky flavor. This particular recipe features a simple lemon-herb-pepper rub and a tasty horseradish-chive sauce…YUM! It’s definitely a great summer dish that is perfect for entertaining!

I bought a big slab of wild Copper River salmon at Costco (which was about 14″ in length), and found 15″ cedar planks for grilling at Lowe’s (the home improvement store… a 2-pack of the planks was about $8). For rustic presentation, serve the cooked salmon straight from the planks after it’s rested for 10 minutes or so (the bottom of the plank will be charred so set a platter or baking sheet underneath it). Enjoy!

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Rub and Horseradish-Chive Sauce
by Fine Cooking Magazine 

Grilling on soaked cedar planks has a lot of benefits: the planks char lightly, creating cedar smoke that delicately perfumes the food, and fish doesn’t stick to the grill grates because it’s on the planks. Plus, this spice rub—a simple mixture of salt, cracked black pepper, lemon zest, fresh thyme, and a bit of sugar—pairs really well with the cedar-smoke flavor. Because it’s a simple technique, it’s easy to grill two fillets at once and use the leftover fillet the next day in a salad or sandwich. Serves 8.

For the salmon:
1 Tbs. grated lemon zest, minced
1 1/2tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 2-lb. boneless, skin-on salmon fillets (preferably wild and no longer than 15 inches), pin bones removed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

For the horseradish-chive sauce:
1 cup crème fraîche
6 Tbs. minced fresh chives
3 Tbs. prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak the cedar planks in water to cover for at least 1 hour. Drain the planks.

Prepare the sauce:
In a small bowl, stir the crème fraîche, chives, and horseradish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.

Prepare the salmon:
In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, thyme, sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbs. pepper. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until the zest is distributed throughout. Rub the salmon fillets on both sides with the olive oil and then set each fillet skin side down on a plank. Sprinkle the fillets with the lemon-pepper mixture, dividing it evenly. Gently rub the seasoning into the fillets. Let stand at room temperature while the grill heats.

Cook the salmon:
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking with high heat: On a gas grill, heat all burners on high; then turn off all but one burner just before cooking the salmon; on a charcoal grill, bank the coals to two opposite sides of the grill. Arrange the planks over the cooler part of the grill, positioning them so that the thickest part of the fish is closest to the heat source. Cover the grill and cook until the thickest part of each fillet registers about 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, 20 to 35 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. The planks may smoke a bit (this is fine) and will become very aromatic. Let the fillets rest on the planks for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Cut the salmon fillets crosswise into serving portions and transfer to individual plates. Serve with the sauce.

Make Ahead Tips: The sauce may be made up to 1 day ahead, and refrigerated, covered.

Leftovers: Cool any leftover salmon completely, wrap well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.



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Prosciutto, Apple, and Brie Monte Cristos

April 2nd, 2012 by andrea | 2 Comments | Filed in Quick Cooking, Recipes, Sandwich

This is a great sandwich! The combination of pungent Dijon, salty prosciutto, sweet apple and creamy brie is delicious! The recipe calls for adding honey to the Dijon but I liked it better without the honey because the apple brings enough sweetness to the sandwich (adding honey to the mustard makes it too sweet, in my opinion). I prefer to slather straight Dijon (and lots of it) on the slices of bread!

For bread, I used Portland French Rustic Wheat Bread. Whatever you choose, definitely go with a hearty bread.

Don’t feel like doing the whole dipping in egg thing? Skip the egg and allspice bath and just grill the sandwich. Delish!

Prosciutto, Apple, and Brie Monte Cristos
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine 

A decadent cross between French toast and ham and cheese sandwiches, these Monte Cristos are also good with pear instead of apple. Serves 4.

2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. honey
8 3/4-inch-thick slices crusty artisan-style bread (if necessary, cut on an angle to make sandwich-size slices)
6 oz. Brie, thinly sliced
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
1 small, crisp, sweet apple, such as Gala or Fuji, cored and thinly sliced
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter
Kosher salt

Combine the mustard and honey in a small bowl. Set the bread slices on a work surface and spread one side of each with the mustard mixture, dividing it evenly. Top 4 of the bread slices with the Brie, prosciutto, apple slices, and then the remaining 4 slices of bread, mustard side down.

Beat the eggs and allspice in a large shallow bowl.

Melt 1-1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Dip both sides of two of the sandwiches into the eggs. Cook, covered, until the bottom sides are golden, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and continue cooking, covered, until the other sides are golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining butter and sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches in half, sprinkle with salt, and serve.


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Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Lemon-Ginger Butter

February 29th, 2012 by andrea | 1 Comment | Filed in Fish, Main Dish, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Seafood

Salmon, a great source of heart-healthy Omega-3, is a staple out here in the Pacific Northwest. I love the stuff! This easy recipe for the pink-fleshed fish calls for searing then finishing the salmon fillets in the oven. The fillets are then plated and topped with a dollop of lemon-ginger butter, which adds a citrusy zing to the dish without overpowering the salmon. It’s delicious!

I didn’t have chives so I substituted finely diced green onions (the green part only). Serve the salmon with sauteed spinach (or mixed greens with Ginger Dressing) and Triple-Sesame Jasmine Rice.

Sear-Roasted Salmon Fillets with Lemon-Ginger Butter
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine 

Searing the salmon gives it a golden crust; high-temperature roasting finishes the cooking and keeps the fish moist. Warming the lemon juice makes it easier to mix it into the softened butter. Wrapped well, the compound butter keeps for weeks in the freezer.
Serves four.
6 Tbs. butter, well softened at room temperature
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, warmed slightly
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs. snipped fresh chives
Olive oil for the pan
4 salmon fillets (5 oz. each), skinned if you like, patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, blend the butter, lemon juice, ginger, and chives well. Set aside at room temperature.

Heat the oven to 500°F. Set a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to make a light film. Sprinkle the salmon lightly with salt and pepper. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon, skin side up, and cook until nicely browned, about 1 minute. Flip the fish over and put the skillet in the oven. Roast for 2 minutes for medium rare; 4 minutes for medium well. Check for doneness with the tip of a knife. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the fish to serving plates, and immediately top the salmon with a dab of the lemon-ginger butter.

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Triple-Sesame Jasmine Rice

February 25th, 2012 by andrea | 3 Comments | Filed in Asian, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish

Quick and flavorful, this recipe is a nice side dish for an Asian-themed meal. Jasmine rice, a fragrant long-grain variety, is common in Thai cuisine and available in many grocery stores.

Look in the Asian section of your market (or an Asian market) for the sesame oil and both types of sesame seeds. For extra flavor and a punch of color, thinly sliced green onions would be a nice addition, too. Enjoy!

Triple-Sesame Jasmine Rice
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine
This rice gets three hits of sesame flavor: from toasted sesame oil and black and white sesame seeds, which also add subtle texture. It makes a perfect accompaniment to any dish with an Asian spin, especially salmon or other seafood dishes. Serves 4

1 cup jasmine rice
1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
1 tsp. unsalted butter
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. black sesame seeds
1 tsp. toasted white sesame seeds

In a large sieve, rinse the rice under cold running water and drain. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine 1-1/2 cups of water with the rice, sesame oil, butter, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; stir once. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Put a clean dishtowel under the lid, and let stand off the heat, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the black and white sesame seeds, fluff with a fork, and serve.


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Shrimp and Asparagus with Cheddar Grits

February 21st, 2012 by andrea | 3 Comments | Filed in Main Dish, Quick Cooking, Recipes, Seafood, Shrimp

Since I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes, I had to try this one when I saw it: creamy, cheese-spiked grits topped with sauteed shrimp and asparagus. Yum! It’s easy to make, very tasty and can easily be doubled (this recipe serves 2-3).

I had trouble finding old-fashioned grits but found Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits/Polenta which worked great. I did a little research on grits and from what I can tell, grits are white and ground finer than yellow-colored polenta. Both are made from different parts of the corn kernel. It probably depends on where you live as to which product is easier to find.

I didn’t have extra sharp cheddar for the grits so I used 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/2 cup smoked cheddar. The smoked cheddar gave the grits a slight smoky flavor…mmm, so good!

Shrimp and Asparagus with Cheddar Grits
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

This dish is a quick riff on the Southern classic Shrimp and Grits. Don’t skimp on the Worcestershire; mellowed with butter, it makes a simple yet savory sauce for the shrimp and asparagus. For best flavor, use wild-caught shrimp.
Serves 2-3

4 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2-1/3 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup old-fashioned (not quick-cooking) grits
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1/2 tsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce; more to taste
1/2 lb. medium-thick asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced

Heat 1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. While stirring constantly, pour in the grits and 1/4 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits are thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the Cheddar and 1/4 tsp. of the hot sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce. Cover and set aside in a warm spot.

Heat 1 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with a little salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and a little browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is opaque and the asparagus is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the Worcestershire sauce and the remaining 1/4 tsp. hot sauce. Melt the remaining 2-1/2 Tbs. butter into the shrimp and asparagus. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce. Serve the shrimp and asparagus over the grits, sprinkled with the scallions.

Preparing asparagus for cooking: grasp each stalk at either end and snap. The stalk will break naturally at the point where it starts to get tough and stringy. For a cleaner look and less waste, you can cut off the tough bottoms with a knife.

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