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Shirley Corriher Recipes

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When she is at home, Corriher keeps it simple with recipes like this one for fresh asparagus, which corresponds beautifully with the fresh fish recipe.

Simple Elegance—Four-Minute Asparagus

Perfectly cooked, gorgeous bright green asparagus literally in minutes

What This Recipe Shows
The chlorophyll in green vegetables remains bright green if vegetables are cooked less than seven minutes. Lemon zest is used to give a fresh lemon taste without the acidity of the lemon juice, which turns cooked green vegetables yucky army drab.

1 pound fresh asparagus, rinsed in cold water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, sea salt if possible
1/2 teaspoon sugar zest (grated peel) of [one] lemon (optional)

1. With one hand at the root end of an asparagus stalk and the other hand 3/4 of the way up the shaft, gently bend. The asparagus will snap where the tough portion ends.

2. Spread asparagus out on a jelly roll pan. Drizzle with oil, then roll asparagus to coat all sides.

3. Slip under the broiler, about 5 inches away and broil for 4 minutes only. Sprinkle with salt and sugar and place on serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve immediately.

Fresh Fillets With Macadamia Butter

Makes 6 servings

A mild fish like sole, flounder, haddock or orange roughy is a perfect match for this delicate topping. A real expert with fish, Susan Jones from Santa Clara Beach, Florida, and Hawaii, taught me the joy of macadamia nuts on fish.

What This Recipe Shows
Delicate fish should be cooked briefly to prevent drying out.

6 medium-size mild fish fillets (sole, flounder, orange roughy, halibut)—about 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams). If the fillets are over 1/2 inch thick, I slice them at an angle into 1/2 inch slices.
Salt (sea salt)
2 ounces (about 60 grams) butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
5 sprigs parsley

1. Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C).

2. Place fillets on a baking sheet. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and remove to a warm serving platter.

3. While fillets are baking, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the chopped macadamia nuts and cook until lightly browned. Stir 1/4 teaspoon salt in, then pour the macadamia nut and butter sauce over the fish fillets. Garnish the fillets with chopped parsley. Garnish the platter with parsley sprigs.

Corriher loves sharing her knowledge—and she extends that sharing to her signature biscuit recipe. While there are several key characteristics that make her biscuits famous, one of the most important ones is that she insists on using low-protein Southern flour. That insistence and her identification with low-protein flour has led to a partnership with Tenda-Bake flour, based in North Carolina. Packages of its gourmet self-rising flour will soon bear Corriher’s name and likeness.

From BakeWise (p. 151–153):
I do know biscuits. I have made biscuits all over the United States and Canada, and as far away as Europe. I even got a standing ovation for my biscuits at a meeting of food science writers in Erice, Sicily. …
I will, and have, put my biscuits up against anyone’s. …

Shirley Corriher’s “Touch-Of-Grace” Southern Biscuits

Makes 12 to 14 medium biscuits

As a little girl, I followed my grandmother around the kitchen. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner she made the lightest, most wonderful biscuits in the world. I used her bread bowl, her flour, her buttermilk—I did everything the same, and I shaped the biscuits just like she did. But mine always turned out a dry, mealy mess. I would cry and say, “Nanny, what did I do wrong?” She was a very busy woman with all my uncles and grandfather to feed three meals a day, but she would lean down and give me a big hug, and say, “Honey, I guess you forgot to add a touch of grace.”

It took me twenty years to figure out what my grandmother was doing that I was missing. I thought that the dough had to be dry enough to shape by hand, but she actually had a very wet dough. She sprinkled flour from the front of the bowl onto the dough, pinched off a biscuit-size piece, and dipped it in the flour. She floured the outside of the wet dough so that she could handle it. This wet dough in a hot oven creates steam to puff and make feather-light biscuits. A wet dough was the big secret. Now I make biscuits almost as good as my grandmother’s, and so can you, with a good wet dough and a touch of grace.

What This Recipe Shows
Low-protein flour helps make tender, moist biscuits.

A very wet dough makes more steam in a hot oven and creates lighter biscuits.

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups (9 oz/255 g) spooned and leveled self-rising flour (low-protein Southern U.S. flour like Tenda-Bake or any self-rising flour)
1/4 cup (1.8 oz/51 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
1/4 cup (1.6 oz/45 g) shortening
2/3 cup (158 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk, or enough for dough to resemble cottage cheese (if you are not using low-protein flour, it will take more than 1 cup)
1 cup (4.5 oz/127 g) plain all-purpose flour, for shaping
3 tablespoons (1.5 oz/43 g) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 425°F/218°C and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven. Spray an 8- or 9-inch (20 or 23-cm) round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps. Gently stir in the cream, then some of the buttermilk. Continue stirring in buttermilk until the dough resembles cottage cheese. It should be a wet mess—not soup but cottage-cheese texture. If you are not using a low-protein flour, this may require considerably more than 1 cup (237 ml) of buttermilk.

2. Spread the plain (not self-rising) flour out on a plate or pie pan. With a medium (about 2-in/5-cm #30) ice cream scoop or spoon, place 3 or 4 scoops of dough well apart in the flour. Sprinkle flour over each. Flour your hands. Turn a dough ball in the flour to coat, pick it up, and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work. Place this biscuit into the prepared pan. Coat each dough ball and place the shaped biscuit scrunched up against its neighbor so that the biscuits rise up and don’t spread out. Continue scooping and shaping until all of the dough is used.

3. Place the pan on the arranged shelf in the oven. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Brush with the melted butter. Invert onto one plate, and then back onto another. With a knife or spatula, cut quickly between biscuits to make them easy to remove. Serve immediately.

Recipes © 1976, 1989, 1998 Shirley O. Corriher.
Used by permission of the author and of Scribner.

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