partial prelude

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Fish and Seafood, Grains and Pasta, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Posted on April 29, 2013 by Sandy Bergsten


Some nights things seem to come together perfectly. Last weekend we had one such evening. A great group and a meal that was comforting and light and fresh.

Grilled scampi and sautéed spinach topped last Saturday night’s grit soufflé. Prepping and partially cooking both ahead of time makes this home down dinner come together in a matter of minutes. Allowing you to spend as much time as possible with your guests. And isn’t that the point of entertaining?

grilled shrimp

For the grilled shrimp look for extra large or colossal peeled and deveined. I like keeping the tail on when I grill for a pretty presentation. All shrimp are frozen right when they’re caught so you might as well thaw them yourself.

grilled shrimp

Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Cover with cold water. Place in the frig until thawed. Drain and rinse with cold water to remove any remaining ice.

grilled shrimp

Toss the shrimp with a good homemade Italian dressing. I always pick up a pint from a local favorite, DiSalvo’s Deli in Dayton. Next time you’re dining out ask if you can take home pint- you’ll be surprised how happy most are to comply.

grilled shrimp

Let sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes while you heat up the grill.

grilled shrimp

Grill for one minute per side or until just pink.

grilled shrimp

Place on a platter, cool, cover and refrigerate. Right before serving place back on the grill to warm through.

sautéed spinach

Sautéed spinach for a crowd can be a real drag unless you partially cook it before hand. There is no way to cook more than one bag at a time, then it cooks down to a mere handful. I always figure one bag per couple. Start with triple washed baby spinach.

sautéed spinach

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and toss until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper and place in a dish. Repeat with the remaining bags of spinach. Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.

sautéed spinach

Right before serving heat up the pan with one tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped garlic and quickly sauté. Add the partially cooked spinach, taking care not to add any liquid that the spinach might have thrown off. Quickly sauté and taste for seasoning.

grit souffle

Remove the grit soufflé from the oven.

grit souffle with grilled shrimp and sauteed spinach

Spoon a heaping spoonful onto a rimmed plate. Scatter the edge with sautéed spinach. Top with five to six grilled shrimp. Serve immediately.

Do Ahead

The grit soufflé can be made the day before (see the previous post for directions). The shrimp can be thawed earlier in the day and partially grilled hours before your guests arrive. The spinach can be partially sautéed hours before your guests arrived. While the grit soufflé is cooking reheat the grill. During the last five minutes flash grill the shrimp and sauté the garlic and spinach. Assemble and serve immediately.

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