Grillades and Grits

Grillades and Grits

Grillades and Grits

In this recipe, beef medallions are simmered in a Creole-Italian red gravy including enough tomatoes or tomato paste to color and flavor but not dominate the sauce.Penny De Los Santos

Grillades made their published debut as early as 1885. They are boneless medallions of veal, except when the cook substitutes bone-in "7 steaks," pork medallions, or beef tenderloin. And contrary to your French-English dictionary definition, they are never grilled. Rather, they are simmered in Creole-Italian red gravy, including enough tomatoes or tomato paste to color and flavor but not dominate the sauce. The meat has to be spoon-tender, neither melted into the gravy nor totally separate from it. In early recipes, grillades appear alone, or with rice, the gentleman's gentleman of Creole cooking, perhaps the assumed accompaniment; eventually grits became the standard pairing. Now that chefs have discovered grits, it seems they can't stop themselves from drowning them with cream or cheese. In all my years of growing up in New Orleans, we never cheesed our grits. Simmered the requisite time, the melded flavors in the grillades are more than sufficient to season lightly buttered grits. —Lolis Eric Elie, author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country (Ten Speed Press, 2005)