Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crab Cake & Pepperjack Grit Cake with Shrimp Etouffee Gravy & Green Onion Vinaigrette

My Mountain Man loves him some Shrimp & Grits, so of course, that's what he requested for his birthday dinner. I didn't want to make him something that I had already made before because well, it's his birthday. So, I came up with a new version of his favorite dish. It included a crazy grit cake, topped with a crab cake,  and then it's surrounded by a classic shrimp etouffee sauce and a green onion vinaigrette. It was everything he would ever want in a meal. And he absolutely loved every bite. You could easily leave out the crab cake, and just top the grits with the delicious shrimp etouffee (and it would be a lot simpler too). It's a great ole' Southern meal for my great ole' Southern boy!! Enjoy :)
Crab Cake & Grit Cake with Shrimp Etouffee Gravy & Green Onion Vinaigrette

For the Pepperjack Grit Cakes:
2 ½C Chicken Stock
1C Heavy Cream
1C Stone Ground Grits
2T Butter
1 ½C Pepperjack Cheese, Shredded
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
1C AP Flour
1 Egg + 2T Milk
1C Panko Breadcrumbs
Vegetable Oil, For Frying

For the Green Onion Vinaigrette:
1C Green Onions, Coarsely Chopped
¼C Red Wine Vinegar
2 Serrano Chiles
2T Mayo
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
½C Olive Oil

For the Crab Cakes:
1lb Crabmeat, Picked Free of Shells
½C Crushed Crackers
¼C Fresh Chives, Finely Sliced
½C Red Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
¼C Mayo
1 Egg
1t Worcestershire Sauce & Dry Mustard
1T Lemon Juice
¼t Garlic Powder & Cayenne
Salt & Pepper
½C Flour
1 Egg + 2T Milk
1C Panko Breadcrumbs
Vegetable Oil, For Frying      

For the Shrimp Etouffee Gravy:
½lb Shrimp, Peeled & Deveined
1T Unsalted Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
½C Sweet Onion, Chopped
½C Red & Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
3T Tomato Paste
1. For the Pepperjack Grit Cakes: Bring the chicken stock and heavy cream to a boil. Add in the stone ground grits in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes (adding salt & extra liquid if needed). When the grits are done, whisk in the butter and pepperjack cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with the shrimp. Pour the grits into a buttered dish and chill in the refrigerator until solidified and compact. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the grits into rounds. Now, place the grit cakes into the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and finally into the panko (making sure they are completely covered). Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a deep sauté pan. Fry the cakes until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the cooked cakes from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Keep them warm while you cook the other components.
2. For the Green Onion Vinaigrette: Blend the green onions, vinegar, chiles, mayo, salt, pepper, and oil in a blender until emulsified. Refrigerate the vinaigrette until ready to serve.
3. For the Crab Cakes: In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, except for the flour, panko, and peanut oil. Shape into patties and dust with the flour. Put the crab crakes onto a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Make a battering station, one container with the egg and milk and another with the panko breadcrumbs. Once chilled, coat the crab cakes in the egg wash and follow with a crust of panko. In a large skillet over, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully place the crab cakes, in batches, and fry until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Carefully flip the crab cakes and fry on the other side until golden brown, about another 4 minutes.
4. For the Shrimp Etouffee Gravy: Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and then add in the garlic, onion, and pepper and cook until softened. Whisk in tomato paste and thyme and cook for 3 minutes. Add reserved 2 cups of shrimp stock; reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until sauce has reduced to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve. When you are ready to serve, add the shrimp back into the gravy mixture and spoon it around the cakes (this is so the shrimp won’t overcook).
5. Assembling the Dish: Place a crispy grit cake in the center of a serving plate, and then stack a crab cake on top of the grit cake. Spoon some of the Shrimp Etouffee Gravy around the cakes. Drizzle the Green Onion Vinaigrette on top of the plate.

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