Sunday, March 6, 2011
Mardi Gras in Milwaukee: Langostinos & Caramelized Onion & Parmesan Grits
According to the Houston Press, shrimp & grits "started out as a seasonal fisherman’s dish of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits in the Low Country where they were also known as “breakfast shrimp.” The simple seafood breakfast became an iconic Southern dish after Craig Claiborne wrote about it in the New York Times in 1985"
In an effort to be frugal, I decided that this year I was going to rely on pantry & freezer staples to make our Mardi Gras inspired meal. Although we didn't have shrimp, we were fortunate to have a bag of frozen Langostino tails on hand from Trader Joes. An affordable (and delicious) alternative to lobster, langostino tails are meat from squat lobster, a shellfish with a similar flavor and texture. And I just knew they would be perfect for this dish.
I also decided that, rather than the classic andouille sausage that often appears in New Orleans' style shrimp & grits dishes, that we'd rely on locally produced applewood smoked bacon to provide a bit of smokiness to the final dish.
And off to the kitchen we went.
In our version, creamy grits are embellished with a hefty dose of caramelized onions and plenty of Wisconsin Parmesan cheese & enrobed in a delicious cream sauce made with langostino tails, local applewood smoked bacon, celery, onions, and deliciously decadent Crystal Ball Creamery cream.
The results, if I do say so myself, were positively divine. Sweet and creamy, slightly spicy and full of great texture, this dish made impeccable use of simple quality ingredients. The grits were particularly heavenly -- with the sugary sweet onions balancing perfectly with the flavor of the salty parmesan.
The dish also got reviews from Peef, who declared that I could make it for him once a week for the rest of his life and he'd never grow tired of it.
So, pour yourself a nice big Hurricane and whip up up a batch of Langostino Tails & Grits for your own Shrove Tuesday celebration. What do you have to lose?
Langostino Tails with Caramelized Onion & Parmesan Grits
©BURP! Where Food Happens
Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.