This past Saturday I helped a friend of mine feed 35 or so of his colleagues at his house. Dean initially wrote about it here, though the menu we made differs slightly due to both time constraints and product availability.
Without a doubt the best thing I had a hand in making was the sauce for the shrimp and grits. I made shrimp stock from shells and heads and then reduced this down to a couple of cups. At some point in the reduction process Dean added some vinegar (red wine I assume) to add some acidity. For the final sauce, I made some beurre monte (bring 3 tbsp of water to a boil, then start whisking in 24 tbsp of butter, slowly at first to make sure it’s emulsified – keep the butter warm enough and it will hold for quite a while). To this we added the reduced shrimp stock and seasoned.
Fortunately I wasn’t in charge of plating – that was left for the guests to organize themselves and do – though I admit it would have gone faster had Dean and I done the plating. But it was nice not to do the plating because it made for a more relaxed evening and I was able to just focus on the cooking and making sure all of the components of each dish were available.
All in all the evening went pretty darn smoothly and I’d like to think that the evening ran smoother with my presence. Plus it was fun to spend the day on my feet for 12 hours and to cook with a friend.