Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Honoring Gourmet, Lowcountry-style

There's been so much hand-wringing the last two weeks since Conde Nast announced it was shutting down Gourmet. I mourned and railed against the decision here and here, and was by no means alone - nearly every one of my favorite blogs has touched on it in some way in the last two weeks. Last week, the blog A Mingling of Tastes came up with a more proactive approach to mourning, inviting everyone to make a favorite Gourmet recipe and post it online. Next week, we'll peek into everyone's kitchens and watch the beloved magazine's legacy in action. So here's my offering to Gourmet. Why don't you create one, too? You have until Friday, October 16 to submit your post to Julie - get cooking!

As I wrote about here, it's the charges that Gourmet was too elitist to make it in a "30 minutes or less" world that have grated on my nerves like no other. So many of the Gourmet recipes that I love are easy to prepare and composed simply, allowing fresh ingredients and flavors to really shine. In that light, I decided that my tribute dish should embody these features of Gourmet, the ones I loved most. This dish is a weeknight favorite around here; it's simple to prepare and in one bite takes me away to a different place. It's also a dish that symbolizes eating consciously and supporting the right kind of producer (in this case, fishermen), choices that Gourmet wrote about better than any other food publication. On to the dish!

Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas
Gourmet, March 2009

For Black-Eyed Peas
4 bacon slices
4 scallions, chopped (I always add more)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 (15-oz) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (I like Sylvia's Soul Food brand for canned black-eyed peas)
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

For Shrimp
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined  
(As always, pay attention to where your food is coming from and who your purchase supports. If your state doesn't have its own fishing industry, make smart decisions about U.S. producers versus imports. Here in Dallas, I always buy wild shrimp from Louisiana fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico. Imported shrimp from Mexico has been decimating the Louisiana industry the last few years, which has struggled to stay afloat post-Katrina anyway. You may pay a bit more to buy your shrimp from the Louisiana Gulf, but your action directly impacts family fishermen who desperately need the support.)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine

For Eating
Crusty bread! Sourdough is perfect with this dish.

Make Black-Eyed Peas:
1. Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until browned but not crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate, then tear into small pieces.

2. Cook scallions, carrot, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in fat in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are pale golden, about 10 minutes.

3. Add black-eyed peas and broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Make Shrimp:

4. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook shrimp with garlic, stirring occasionally, until just opaque (shrimp will not be fully cooked), about 3 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, then briskly simmer for 2 minutes.

5. Add bacon and black-eyed pea mixture and simmer until just heated through (mixture will be juicy). Discard bay leaves.

6. Serve in a bowl with a piece of crusty bread


  1. LOVE your Le Creuset skillet. And I must be a true Northerner, I've never had black-eyed peas. This must be remedied immediately.

  2. Can we have one of those things where you cook for us and we eat it?

  3. I just devoured my second large bowl in as many nights. And honestly, this second bowl didn't stand a chance. So, so good. This is definitely one of my faves, especially with awesome bread to go with it.

  4. I made that blackeyed pea and shrimp dish the DAY after I received that issue. It was delicious. I'm trying to deal with my grief by buying BOTH the giant Gourmet tomes that Ruth has published. The new one (with its unfortunate publication timing. Is it now a dirge?) arrives today.

  5. Looks great, and your food photography is getting better with each post!


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