The imagined dishes

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by eastshores, May 5, 2010.

  1. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    299
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Well, I'm not sure if others will play along, but I thought it would be fun to have a thread where we compose dishes entirely based on just imagination. If you are like me.. and sit at work sometimes daydreaming about a dish.. how you might approach it.. construct it.. the techniques you use.. etc. then here is your chance to verbally describe that dish in all it's glory. Note: Here's a free online sketch tool if you want to illustrate your idea http://www.onemotion.com/flash/sketch-paint/

    I think that the pro chefs should chime in and comment on these ideas to endorse, or suggest sage advice based on experience.

    My first imagined dish would be a southern shrimp and grits plate. For the grits, I'd choose a coarse ground grit, and add in some butter, s&p, and something like velveeta with cream to make them cheese grits. On a rectangular plate, I'd form the grits into a ring mold and top them with a grating of premium aged cheddar. That would then be toasted using a torch. Finally thinly sliced scallions would be placed atop.

    The shrimp would be jumbo gulf shrimp, as fresh as possible. I'd clean them, then in a hot pan melt some butter and toss in a little freshly chopped thyme and garlic. Cook the shrimp in just that butter, thyme, and garlic and season with s&p. When they are perfect, I'd place them on the plate leaning against the cheese grits.

    I think a few drops of a lemon or lime gastrique and a couple micro-greens tossed in oil and vinegar could finish out the dish well.

    What do you think? What would you change, and what is your imagined dish?
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    I like the idea of using a ring mold for the grits. But I'd either pile the shrimp inside the ring and top with a roux, or with a chunky barbecue sauce.

    My imagined dishes never stay imaginary. I make them, adapting and amending from what I visualized to what becomes the finished dish. My seafood lollipops started as an imagined dish, for instance, then went through five or six incarnations before I was satisfied with it.

    Lately, thanks to Suvir Saran, I've been experimenting a lot with peanut flour. Each dish starts out as you say, by imagining how I'd combine it with other ingredients. For instance, I imagined an upscale version of a classic Southern breakfast.

    In this case, thegrits are mixed half & half with 12% peanut flour, then cooked with cream and cheddar, poured into a sheet pan, and refrigerated overnight.  Using a ring cutter, this gets cut into rounds.

    Also cut into rounds are good quality country ham steaks.

    The grit cakes get lightly fried, then topped with a round of fried ham. This in turn gets covered with a sunnyside up egg, and the whole thing garnished with a thickened red-eye gravy. Serve with a sliced ripe tomato alongside.

    I've actually made this once, as I imagined it, and it needs some fine-tuning. Among other things, I've imagined subbing a sawmill gravy for the red eye.
     
  3. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    299
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Nice KY... the breakfast sounds good, I would imagine the grits congealed too much though, although frying them would have been a nice play on something like a polenta for a foundation. I think I'd use prosciutto for the ham. The tomato sounds like an awesome addition to bring a little freshness.

    For my cheese grits and shrimp, I liked the idea of toasting the cheddar on the grits and topping with scallions.. if the shrimp were atop the grits it would remove that as part of the canvas. This is how I imagine the dish at the moment.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Eastshores, grits and polenta are practically the same thing, and are all but interchangeable.

    With this usage, you want a congealed base. Many grains behave similarly, and the idea is to let them congeal so they can be formed into cakes and fried. Another example is Panelle, which is a Sicilian version of polenta cakes, made with chickpea flour instead of cornmeal.

    I think I'd use prosciutto for the ham.

    Not a bad choice, from a flavor standpoint. But keep in mind that I'm looking at a take-off of the Southern classic: grits, fried ham, sunny side ups, and red eye gravy. Sliced tomato is a typical part of such as breakfast as well. Being as peanuts and pork are natural pairings, I figured this as an ideal use for the peanut flour.

    if the shrimp were atop the grits it would remove that as part of the canvas.

    Ahhhhh. What confused me was your use of the phrase "ring mold." I was envisioning a hollow surrounded by a wall of grits, with the shrimp filling that opening. The roux would add a flavor layer to the shrimp, without conflicting with the artistry of the grits.