Okay, so maybe this dinner ain’t such a looker.
Also, maybe I should have been a little kinder to my system, which has been having gastro-intestinal issues all day and which I’d already tormented with a big bowl of ill-advised bran flakes. My guts have got to learn to toughen up. And what’s better for that than a big bowl of grits with fresh corn, roasted poblanos and boursin topped with seared scallops drenched in a bourbon-butter sauce. SUCK IT UP, GUTS. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ANY PEPTO TONIGHT.
I should add “everything is better with roasted poblanos” to my list of basic culinary rules (i.e., everything is better with (1) cheese; (2) puff pastry or (3) a gimlet). Their earthy smokiness is almost always welcome in a dish and pairs up especially well with dairy, which is why I was compelled to stir a whole wheel of boursin into the grits. Like I need a reason to stir a wheel of cheese into grits. Isn’t that what grits are for, really?
To add an extra layer of flavor to the dish, I briefly sauteed the fresh corn in some bacon fat, throwing in the chiles as well to reheat and start melding with the corn. While the veg cooked, I heated up a combo of milk and water for my grits.
This stuff was pretty much made to stir into grits, right? I mean, when given your choice of cheeses for munching, does anyone really choose boursin? Does it really even count as cheese, or is it a cheese product? I’ll have to check the packaging. Which is a sign right there; real cheese shouldn’t require packaging design. But for making some damn good grits? Perfection.
Speaking of which, would you like some grits? Because I made a really big honking pot of them, which I’m hoping to successfully transform into grit cakes with fried eggs for dinner tomorrow night.
Tomorrow demands a quick dinner (Smackdown coming on Friday), because I’m heading to the therapist after work and will be home late. And the therapist will ask me if I’m any less depressed, and you know what? I’m just not sure. But probably she won’t take “Maybe?” or “What do YOU think?” for an answer. So I’m going to have to come up with something before tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I’ll bring her some grits and hope to distract her with cheese.
I could have just eaten grits for dinner, but figured I should probably include some kind of protein. So gorgeous, huge, local dry scallops barely kissed with a hot pan and finished off a la Brian: with a sauce made by deglazing the scallop pan with Maker’s Mark and whisking in a touch of butter. It sounds like it shouldn’t work. It does. Trust me. And I don’t even like bourbon!
Yeah, yeah, it looks like a big bowl of beige. Because it IS a big bowl of beige. What of it? Tell me you would kick this bowl out of bed for being too beige; I know I wouldn’t.
The grits: creamy, a little spicy, pops of crunch from the just-cooked fresh corn, a little sweet, a little tangy. The scallops: luscious, sweet, delicate, with the brash flavor of the bourbon cloaked in a velvet glove, softened with butterfat. The pairing: more successful than one might expect.
Worth the GI distress? TOTALLY.
Cheese Grits with Fresh Corn and Poblanos
3 c. water
3 c. milk
1 1/2 c. stone-ground grits
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. bacon fat (or substitute butter)
2 c. fresh corn kernels from 3-4 cobs
4 poblano peppers
1 5.2 oz. wheel of boursin cheese
3 tbsp. butter
Roast off the poblanos: Roast until blackened all around, either under the broiler or directly on the burners of a gas stove. Stash the roasted peppers in a bowl covered with plastic wrap; the steam will help the skins peel off. When they’re cooled, peel, seed and dice them.
Heat the water, milk, grits and salt together in a large saucepan. While it comes to a boil cut the kernels off the corn cobs, heat the bacon fat in a skillet and quickly saute the corn, 3-4 minutes (it will finish cooking in the grits). Whisk the grits periodically.
Simmer the grits until they are cooked through and thick; mine took 6-8 minutes, but your milage may vary. Stir in the corn and poblanos, followed by the boursin and butter. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to bring everything together.
Check the seasoning and adjust the s+p. Serve immediately.