I have a bi-monthly column in McKinney’s own Town Square Buzz, check out this weeks post.
Great friends, fabulous wine and a dish I can’t seem to get off my mind. Friday night we dined with longtime friends at the Marquee Grill and Bar in Highland Park Village. I had been looking forward to this for weeks. I was prepared for the conversation to be brilliant and was hoping the food would be as well; needless to say, I was not disappointed by either.
Sometime back, I sampled cocktails at this interesting Dallas address and always planned to return to explore the menu by Executive Chef Andre Natera. The Marquee is situated beside and above the Highland Park Theater and has a 50ish art deco vibe. The bar is cool with clean lines, huge contemporary artwork and a walk out balcony that boasts a magnificent view of the village.
We sat outside sipping wine and reminiscing about our time spent together in the early years and catching up on today’s happenings, all under the perfect haze of May’s evening sky. I kept thinking, ‘Are we really only 30 minutes from McKinney?’ It felt like a different world entirely. We usually dine closer to home at one of our favorite local places where we inevitably run into friends and neighbors. I adore the hometown charm that is unique to McKinney but let’s face it, a change of scenery once and a while is good for the soul.
We finally made it to our table cloaked in white linen and we were presented with a straight forward menu of modern American cuisine. Soon dinner was served; I love that moment when your plate is carefully placed in front of you, and your eyes began to feast. I could not wait to dig in to the southern classic, shrimp and grits, and each morsel was savored. The shrimp was plump and seasoned to perfection, grits rich and silky but it was the mouthwatering tomato jam that took it over the top. I send my compliments to chef Natera who says Highland Park is his muse; well I was quite amused and taken with this dish!
After thinking about this yummy meal for 2 days, I decided to recreate it in my own kitchen. I hope you will try my rendition of Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Jam and share it with some of your friends today!
Shrimp and Grits with Tomato Jam
1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 small onion chopped finely
½ red pepper diced finely
1 clove of garlic pressed
1 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup grits (not instant)
1 ½ cup chicken stock
¾ cup fat free half and half
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
Freshly cracked pepper
Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning salt
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a chef’s pan set to medium heat. Cook onions until they begin to caramelize. Add red pepper and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes more. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, basil, Worcestershire and about ½ teaspoon salt, cook until no liquid remains and jam is very thick, about 25 minutes. Heat chicken stock to a simmer in a sauce pan; slowly stir grits into the pot. Add half and half and cream. Continue to cook and stir until grits are tender. Add butter and salt if desired. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a grill pan. Season shrimp generously with salt, black pepper and Tony Chachere’s and cook on each side 3 minutes or until pink. To plate the dish, create a base of grits, place shrimp on top of grits and add a healthy amount of tomato jam alongside. Serves 4