Hey guys, just thought I’d share something pretty cool with all of you. Bert Gill, chef/owner of three local restaurants just released a new cookbook that’s pretty awesome. “Pickled, Fried, and Fresh” is the release from the guy who brought you Blue Gill, Mildred’s, and New Deal Café. I wouldn’t normally recommend something like this, but Chef Gill has been involved with the ever-evolving Gainesville food scene for over a decade.
What’s cool about the book is it highlights a lot of recipes that make use of the local ingredients we can get around here. It’s not really traditional southern cooking, and is heresy or a new take depends on how you look at it. But nonetheless, it’s a pretty cool piece of Gainesville cuisine. The book also has recipes for dishes he has served in his restaurants over the years. I think it’d be pretty cool to check out some of the farmers’ markets in town and then make some of his dishes at home.
Pimento cheese, clams with fennel and oranges, watermelon salad, cheddar grits, and the “Blue Gill Burger” (one of the better burgers in town) are some of the dishes he teaches you how to make in the book. I got my copy on Amazon, check it out! Here’s a recipe for his Cheddar Grits from the book (reprinted with permission from University Press of Florida):
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped carrot
¼ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños
1 tablespoon hot sauce
splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup stone ground grits
½ pound shredded Cheddar cheese
Makes 4–6 servings
In large saucepan, sauté onion, carrot, and celery in the canola oil over medium-high heat until just softened. Add the milk, jalapeños, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and bring to a low simmer. Whisk in the grits, and cook 30–45 minutes or until grits are soft and thickened. Stir occasionally since the milk can cause the grits to scorch if you’re not careful.
Once fully cooked, remove the grits from the heat and whisk in the Cheddar cheese.