Smackdown: Charlatan!

croppy

I did not smack these creole beef grillades with cheese grits down.

dredge

I mean, yes, I cooked them – a John Besh recipe out of Harvest to Heat. I just didn’t cook them tonight; I made then on Monday. I thought I could try and get a post done ahead of time and pull one over on you, but it turns out that I can’t. Writing about this dish after the fact just feels…wrong. You must feel uncomfortable as well. I’m sorry. Apparently, I NEED to write in the moment or the well runs dry, and the well ain’t that well-stocked to begin with.

Luckily there are photographs to remind me of what I did. Oh, and leftover cheese grits; if you’re going to make cheese grits, it seems like a terrible waste not to make extra.

lard

So the dish is essentially thin steaks, dredged in seasoned flour and seared up in some bacon fat, and then simmered in a lovely creole-y sauce and served with grits that have been enriched with Swiss and mascarpone. What’s not to love? Have you ever seen or read a John Besh recipe that you DIDN’T immediately want to inhale? I didn’t think so.

It irritates me that the computer doesn’t recognize the word “mascarpone.” Then again, 90% of the people on the Food Network don’t get it right either,* so I shouldn’t be surprised. What’s that you say? Mars-capone? JUST STICK A KNITTING NEEDLE IN MY EAR WHY DON’T YOU, YOU FUCKERS?

*Including Alton Brown, which makes me indescribably sad.

aromatics

Sauteeing up the trinity that forms the base of the sauce – the New Orleans version of a mirepoix, onion, celery and bell pepper – creates a scent that transports one to the bayou. Which is all the more amazing because I’ve never actually been to the bayou, or anywhere near New Orleans. (A damn dirty shame.) But it smells like what I imagine all of New Orleans smells like.

Well, and booze. The trinity and booze. Oh, and loose women. Whatever they smell like; I probably don’t want to know.

seared

Of course, it helps if you’re sauteeing things in bacon fat. This dish used up the remainder of my store of bacon fat,* not that I’m complaining.

So I cooked up my dredged steaks in bacon fat, then sauteed the trinity in bacon fat before adding a bit of flour to create a roux and then mixing in tomatoes and beef stock. In went bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes and Worcestershire, and the whole mess simmered together for a few minutes before the steak returned to the pan to cook through until tender.

*Now I only have duck and goose fat left. Poor, poor me.

saucy

While the steak simmered, I threw together the grits; a simple affair made luxurious with butter, cheese and mascarpone. It took a LOT of tasting to get things just right, and that is NOT because I just wanted an excuse to eat more cheese grits.

meal

Then I took this badly-lit photo so that I could fail to show you the dish to its best advantage. A shame, because this was an excellent dinner. The sauce was intensely flavorful and made everything it touched better. The steak was perfectly tender, and I don’t think I have to say anything about cheese grits with mascarpone.

The steak, while good, was actually somewhat superfluous; my favorite part of the night was the extra bowl of grits topped with the sauce I had afterward.

I’ve felt seriously off trying to write this and hope it does not transfer to the reading. Next week, no more of this planning-ahead bullshit.

10 thoughts on “Smackdown: Charlatan!

  1. Re: New Orleans. It smells like garbage, at least on Sunday morning when you’re headed down Bourbon street toward Cafe DuMonde to get your beignets and cafe au lait. And it smells like fish. And it smells like swamp. Mostly, it smells like the best time you ever had when you were sober. And we won’t even talk about when you’re drunk.

    It ain’t just exactly proper. But Gawdamighty, it’s a fine place. You MUST go.

  2. AB can’t say it either? *sigh* I’ve heard so many TV chefs mispronounce mascarpone that I’ve started to doubt that I can say it right. There’s no “R” in that first syllable, bitches!

  3. YAY GRILLADES AND GRITS! As a New Orleansian (?) once-removed who learned to make grillades and grits from my own mother, I must say that this version sounds really, really good. I don’t think I’ve ever made cheese grits (just plain) as an accompaniment, which strikes me as a terrible waste of grits, now that I think about it.

    So the real question is: You can pronounce mascarpone, which is at least phonetic, but can you pronounce grillades?

  4. You can’t win with the word mascarpone. If you say it wrong, it’s wrong. If you’re Giada DeLaurentis and you say it with an Italian accent, you’re apparently a pretentious twit.

    Just eat it and forget about it.

    Alton Brown I find is wrong about a lot of things. I used to want to marry him. Now I want to smack him and set fire to all of his recipes that never work.

  5. I also used to be able to tolerate AB, but now I just think he’s a pretentious asshole. Like when he pronounces ‘chard’ as ‘SHard?’ Go to shursh and pray on it, ELton.

    Of course, I haven’t watched FoodTVf or the last three years or so, so I have no idea WTF is going on over there nowadays. I long for the olden days when they had real cooks on there.

    My brother and I used to have a drinking game with Giada’s pronunciation, we were usually loaded before the first ten minutes were up. Spa-GEEEEEE-ti!

  6. I too despise the marscapone. I equally loathe chipolte and the universally mispronounced brushetta. Everytime I say brusketta, I can see people feeling sorry for my mispronounciation. Thanks for allowing me to vent and feel superior for a minute or two. Keep up the very entertaining post!

  7. Man, fuck Alton Brown out loud. He’s not as great as he thinks he is.

    Also, a drinking game based on Giada sounds fun. It would take my mind off how fast my husband would leave me for her, given the chance. I would suggest adding to the roster that you drink every time she makes a sex noise. That would get you legless in a hurry.

  8. We used mascarpone in our Christmas morning crepes this year. We had a discussion about proper pronunciation during which I actually invoked your name in support of the no R in the first syllable part. Then my father made a point of correcting the wife of the owner of his favourite Italian restaurant. If Erme’s mom didn’t spit in his beef carpaccio, he’ll be bloody lucky.

  9. kay, i must, i must, i know. i need to go there, and eat the crap out of it. your description is fantastic.

    chiffon, nope, he’s just as bad as the rest of ‘em.

    kristin, gree-yades?

    rachel, i find they they often work, but they’re just too fussy for me to deal with. except for his french toast, which is fricking awesome and for which i willingly put up with the fuss.

    peggasus, you’re not missing anything. sandra lee is single-handedly destroying the entire network. not that all the other “chefs” are such hot stuff.

    kym, i don’t encounter problems with chipotle much. thank god, or my head would probably explode.

    camille, can we also drink ever time there’s an extreme close-up of her washing food lovingly with bowm-chicka-bow-bow music playing?

    bhl, no one’s name should have to be invoked, because THERE IS NO R. also, mascarpone in crepes? yes, please.

  10. Ohhhh delicious. I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans, cooking the food is a pretty decent substitute till such time comes. Especially if it involved bacon fat.

    Don’t worry, still highly readable. I hate trying to get a blog post done when my brain isn’t coming up with the goods, but seriously, enjoyed this and the final picture of grits looks so delicious you could have written this in pig latin and I may not have noticed.

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