Originating in New Orleans, grillades (GREE-yahds) and grits is a southern staple for breakfast or brunch. Typically, it's made with pounded palliards of highly seasoned beef or veal that are floured and pan fried until golden brown before braising long and slow with vegetables in a seasoned aromatic beef stock. Served over cheese grits, grillades rock the soul.
A couple of nights ago, I busted out a riff on grillades and served them over baked cheese grits. I pan fried pounded floured veal cutlets until golden before removing them to a plate along with thier juices.
Using the same skillet, I sauteed sliced green peppers, sliced red bell peppers, minced garlic, and sliced candy onions until they caramelized. When the onions began to brown, I added 2 chopped roma tomatoes, fresh thyme, cayenne pepper, paprika, 2 bay leaves, hickory-smoked sea salt , cracked black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of flour. After the flour started to paste, I added 4 cups of beef stock, incorprating it until slightly thickened. When the braising liquid came to a boil, I reduced it to simmer, added chopped green onions and red wine vinegar. After sliding sliding the grillades with their accumulated juices back into the sauce, I covered the pan and let it braise for 2 hours.
The tomato, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, thyme, paprika, and cayenne pepper roux-based thickened beef stock totally bathed the tender veal in a deeply flavored silken sauce. When spooned over and beside sliced wedges of baked Weisenberger Mills sharp cheddar cheese grits, the meltingly tender grillades were a delicious and luxurious pleasure. Seriously.
As tasty as the grillades and cheesy grits were, they paled in comparison when paired side by side with a simple dish of sauteed glazed baby purple carrots.
Surprizingly, I had forgotten about the purple carrots tucked away in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. I still sported battle scars from an elbow match with two pretentious urbanites while shopping at the Sunday farmers' market. While they manhandled the produce, questioning the freshness of every item for their garden-fresh Sunday salad supper, I stood there with my dollar bills fluttering in the breeze. Thankfully, they didn't touch, squeeze, sniff, or fondle my prized baby purple carrots. I even purchased the bulbous candy onion they dropped back into the basket after learning it was cut the previous morning. Their loss. All fresh local produce is beautiful. To me, the dirt-encrusted gnarly purple carrots were absolutely gorgeous.
Not wanting to muck around with their tender freshness, I prepared the baby carrots very simply.
After trimming the green tops, I gently scraped the thin purple skin from the carrots and sliced them in half. They were stunning. When sliced, the purple gave way to red which bled to a soft orange center. I blanched them in salted water until tender, drained them, and set them aside.
While the grillades braised and the grits baked, our house smelled amazing. After a few several glasses of wine, I pulled the grillades and grits from the oven and finished the carrots.
After melting several pats of unsalted butter in a heavy cast iron skillet, I tossed the colorful carrots into the butter to coat. When the butter sizzled around the carrots, I drizzled 2 tablespoons of Abigales clover honey over them and tossed them in the buttery sticky honey until they were well glazed.
I wasn't shooting for cloyingly sweet church pot-luck carrots, so I squeezed fresh lemon juice over the bubbling carrots, removed them from the heat, and gave them a good toss in the newly annointed lemon honey glaze.
I plated the grillades and grits, tumbled the carrots to the side, and finished with fresh thyme from our garden.
The carrots were fabulous. They were tender and soft with subtle acidic sweetness from the glaze.
The kicker? I was in heaven when the honeyed lemon glaze oozed into the grillade gravy, creating a G-spot sauce combo. Yep.