Like many of you, I’m cooking for a crowd this weekend. Here’s what’s on the menu so far: grilled shrimp and scallops with lime and garlic; john’s crazy crispy potatoes with homemade aioli; orzo with grilled tomatoes and feta; and an arugula and asparagus salad with fennel, mint, and pecorino. For dessert, I’m making Suzanne Goin’s outrageously delicious cornmeal shortcakes from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. I’ve been trying to wait for Memorial Day to make these shortcakes, but their charm has proven impossible to resist and I admit I’ve already made them a couple of times this spring. To me, they’re the quintessential shortcake: crumbly, buttery, crisp-soft perfection, but with the unique addition of cornmeal. Serve them up simply with softly whipped cream and any sweet-ripe berries – strawberries are the classic choice, but blueberries are also a natural match with cornmeal. I like to garnish my berries with either a little chopped fresh thyme or finely grated lime zest. Or, for something a little different, try substituting the berries with a hefty scoop of brown sugar roasted rhubarb. Makes 6 shortcakes, and can easily be doubled. Happy Memorial Day Everyone!
Here’s some other recipes perfect for barbeques, picnics, and other celebrations: Raspberry Crumble Bars, Easiest Fresh Strawberry Tart, Cherry Clafoutis, Strawberry Galettes, Lime and Graham Cracker Ice Cream, Vietnamese Grilled Chicken, Cous Cous Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Red Peppers, Roasted Asparagus with Walnut Crema, Poppy Seed Dressing, Roasted Beet Hummus.
For the Shortcakes
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to break up the butter – the mixture should resemble a course meal. With the machine running, pour in the cream.
As soon as a dough forms, stop the food processor and dump the dough onto the counter. Do not over-mix. Push it together with your hands to form into a rough circle, and then, using a chef’s knife, cut the circle in half and cut each half in 3 triangular pieces.
Transfer to a parchment or sil-pat lined sheet pan and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar and bake about 15 minutes until golden brown and set.
1 pint hulled and washed berries
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fresh thyme leaves or a little grated lime zest
Whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Split each shortcake in half horizontally and top each bottom with a generous dollop of cream and a handful of berries. Place the top half of the shortcake on top (or to the side) of the berries and garnish with thyme leaves or lime zest. Serve immediately.