By Dian Pajak
4:10 PM EDT, June 4, 2012
The three years I lived in Santa Fe influenced my style of cooking eternally. The selection of spices, flavor combinations and chilies from that region has an impact on my menu creations and recipes. I wanted to incorporate a classic Southern meal, regional seafood and my personal culinary foundations. Thus, Santa Fe Shrimp and Grits.
Chef Russell Svoboda graduated from Baltimore International Culinary College, then worked for two years under Peter Zimmer of Joy America Café. “This was where I learned that food not only fills the stomach, it also feeds the soul,” he says. Svoboda then moved to Santa Fe, N.M., opened La Posada de Santa Fe at Rock Resort, and began experimenting with American Southwest cuisine. He returned to Maryland as executive chef at Alexandra’s at Turf Valley, then served as executive chef at Great Sage. Now back at Alexandra’s, Svoboda’s Modern American Fusion menu includes local ingredients handled at their peak ripeness and prepared simply with culinary mastery.
Santa Fe Shrimp and Grits Serves 2
• 10 (each) U-10 (under 10 per pound) shrimp
• 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon Chimayo chili powder
• 2 tablespoons (each) cooked black beans, diced New Mexico green chili, chopped crispy bacon and crumbled chorizo
• 1 cup light chicken stock
• 1 ½ cups cooked grits
1. Heat the oil, sprinkle the Chimayo on the shrimp and sear on both sides.
2. Add the garlic, green chili, black beans, bacon and chorizo.
3. Continue to sauté for 2 minutes; deglaze with the stock.
4. Simmer until the shrimp is done (1 ½ minutes); add a pinch of sea salt by discretion.
5. Spoon the contents over the cooked grits and surround with the smoked tomato butter (recipe follows).
Smoked Tomato “Butter” ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
• 1 tablespoon vinegar, balsamic
• 2 fluid ounces cabernet
• 2 beefsteak tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
• pinch sea salt
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon butter
1. In a saucepot, combine the shallot, vinegar and wine and reduce by half.
2. Core the tomatoes and puree in blender; add to reduction.
3. Add tomato paste, salt mix and liquid smoke; simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and emulsify in blender with cream and whole butter.
Caliente — Jalapeño-Fused Margarita
In Santa Fe, a margarita is a classic match for any food containing New Mexico chilies. We wanted to twist a classic margarita with a hint of spice to accentuate the chilies, but still have it go down easily enough to be refreshing and light.
• 1 ounce jalapeño fused Patron (fused in-house)
• 1/2 ounce Cointreau
• 4 ounces house-made sour mix
Shake and strain over ice into a cinnamon-chili rimmed
glass and garnish with a lime
About Alexandra’s Restaurant
2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City • 410-480-2400 • www.alexandrasrestaurant.com
Monday-Saturday: Breakfast, 7-11 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; dinner, 5-10 p.m.
Sunday: Breakfast, 7-11 a.m., brunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; lunch, 2-5 p.m.; dinner, 5-10 p.m.
Wine-down Wednesdays: 50 percent off bottled wine and 25 percent off select bins; live jazz, 6-10 p.m.Friday: Fish & Chips special with $2 Flying Dog Drafts