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Shad Roe Wrapped in Benton’s Bacon with Wild Alabama Watercress, Sweet Peas, White Grits & Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Christopher Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, Alabama / April 2012

For 6 servings

Preserved lemon vinaigrette:
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 1/4 cup preserved lemon, finely diced
• 2 tsps. flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 1 tsp. thyme, finely chopped
• 1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl; reserve.

Anson Mills white grits:
• 1/3 cup half-and-half
• 1/3 cup light chicken stock
• 8 Tbsps. unsalted butter
• 1 Tbsp. salt
• 2 tsps. black pepper, freshly ground
• 1 tsp. thyme, finely chopped
• 1 cup Anson Mills Antebellum coarse white grits

Bring all ingredients except grits to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan; add grits; cook, whisking constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 3 minutes); reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring often, 20 minutes; remove from heat; cover with waxed paper; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly:
• 3 pairs fresh shad roe
• 30 very thin slices Benton’s hickory smoked country bacon
• 4 Tbsps. vegetable oil
• 3 cups peas, shelled and blanched
• salt
• black pepper, freshly ground
• 1 cup Anson Mills Antebellum coarse white grits • 3 slices Benton’s country ham, torn and deep-fried
• 3 cups wild watercress

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.

  2. Split shad roe into 6 separate lobes; place 5 slices bacon slightly overlapping on work surface; place a shad roe lobe on top; carefully wrap bacon around; trim bacon so it overlaps by about 1/2"; place seam side down on a platter; repeat with remaining shad roe and bacon; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

  3. Heat oil in large cast-iron skillet set over high heat; carefully place shad roe seam side down in pan; cook, turning carefully, until brown on all sides; remove from heat; place on baking sheet; bake 3 minutes (should still be slightly raw in center); remove from oven; reserve (keep warm).

  4. To plate, spoon 1/2 cup grits in a line down center of each plate; place sweet peas and 1/2 cup vinaigrette in a bowl; season; toss to coat; spoon small amounts along grits; slice each shad roe lobe into 4 slices; arrange 4 slices and ham in a line on top of grits; garnish with watercress; spoon vinaigrette down each side of grits.

What to drink: Bastianich Rosato 2010