Shrimp & Grits with Braised Collards & Smoked Tomato Broth

Serves 4


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup coarse stone ground white grits
  • ¼ cup butter Salt to taste

Bring water and milk to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Once boiling, whisk in grits. Lower heat to a simmer and continue stirring periodically (every 3-5 minutes) for the first 25 minutes to ensure that the grits don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. After 25 minutes, you can whisk a bit less frequently, but still often. Grits are done when they’re totally thick with a soft, tender mouthfeel. Consistency should be uniform. If more liquid is necessary during cooking, use water, not milk. Once done, kill the heat and add butter and whisk until incorporated. Season with salt to taste.


Smoked Tomato Broth

  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and rough chopped 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon hickory smoked powder
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1  28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2  sprigs each parsley, fresh oregano, rosemary (stems removed from rosemary)
  • ½ can tomato paste

In a medium pot, sweat the onions and red pepper flakes in olive oil until soft; onions should be translucent and not brown. Add smoked powder. Deglaze with wine and allow to reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, their juices and the herbs to the pot. Simmer 25 minutes then whisk in the tomato paste. Cook an additional 10 minutes then season to taste with salt, black pepper and olive oil.


Blanched Collard Greens

  •  2 pounds fresh collard greens, stems removed and leaves rough chopped

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a few pinches of salt then add the chopped collards. Have a large bowl of ice water standing by. After 90 seconds, using a hand strainer, remove the collards from the boiling water and transfer immediately to the ice water to shock them. Once the collards have cooled, use your hands to squeeze the excess water from the collards and set the greens aside.

Other Ingredients

  • 16 large gulf white shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails attached Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper



In a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat 4 tbs olive oil until shimmering hot. Add the shrimp carefully; do not over-crowd. There should be a bit of space between each shrimp. When you’ve placed all 16 shrimp in the pan, season with salt and pepper while the shrimp cooks.

After 2-3 minutes, the shrimp will begin to look opaque. Turn each shrimp carefully and season the other side. Cook for 1 minute then add the butter. Cook an additional minute and add the white wine and lemon juice to the pan. Immediately add 2 cups of the smoky tomato broth (reserve the rest for another use). Toss in the greens, stir to combine and cover; allow the dish to simmer for 2 minutes.


In the bottom of four shallow serving dishes, place about 1 cup of grits. Top each dish with four shrimp, a small mound of collards and a spoonful of sauce. Top with fresh herbs and serve immediately.


Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Pesto

Sponsored by Wolf Trap

Photo by Peyton Weikert

Photo by Peyton Weikert

Summer has officially arrived here in the District! Check out which ingredients are in season, and try your hand at an heirloom tomato sandwich recipe from Wolf Trap's Chef Chris Faessen.

What's in season:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Currants
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Gooseberries
  • Green Beans
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuces
  • Mushrooms
  • Nectarines
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peaches
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Salad Greens
  • Shallots
  • Sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar & Snap Peas
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet Cherries
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelons

Executive Chef Chris Faessen shares a guaranteed crowd pleaser for a Wolf Trap picnic—delicious, easy-to-pack —serving up these tomato sandwiches will make you very popular indeed. Often called “Caprese” sandwiches, which means in the style of the Italian island of Capri, food served Caprese-style, in this case a sandwich, are constructed of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, sweet basil and seasoned with salt and olive oil. A cold white Italian wine or prosecco would complete the picture. Enjoy the summer evening and manga!

No time to pack a picnic? Wolf Trap has you covered. Their restaurant offers on-site dining, and also the option to call ahead and order a custom picnic to pick it up before the show. To order, call 703-255-4017 or to explore all dining options, visit

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Pesto
Serves 4.

1 red heirloom tomato
1 yellow heirloom tomato
1 teaspoon basil pesto
4-6 thick slices fresh buffalo mozzarella (depending on the size of your rolls/sandwiches)
4 fresh ciabatta rolls (or a loaf of ciabatta)

Basil Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup pine nuts (or substitute walnuts)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Put all the ingredients in a blender and ½ cup of the olive oil and blend well. Finish with the remaining olive oil. To assemble sandwiches, cut the rolls in half, removing a bit of the bread on each side to create room for the tomato and cheese. Spread pesto on top and bottom, layer the tomato and mozzarella. Press the sandwich down and refrigerate for 30 minutes. To use the loaf, cut it in half lengthways, remove some of the bread and assemble as above. After refrigeration, slice into serving size sandwiches.

Heirloom Summer Popsicles

By Whitney Pipkin, Photography by Hannah Hudson. From our Summer 2016 Issue: The Last Bite.


They say cherry tomatoes are summer’s best candy, so why shouldn’t they—and their heirloom cousins—be dessert, too? Tomatoes are a fruit, after all, and heirloom varieties like Brandywine and Aunt Ruby’s German Green, prized for their uniqueness, come in as many shapes, sizes and flavors as, well, a popsicle. Add a splash of watermelon and you have yet another way to savor the orbs that are the essence of the season.

And, while you’re at it, why not make a popsicle out of another quintessential summer ingredient that rarely gets star billing for its sweet side? We asked the folks at Pleasant Pops to fork over this recipe for their version of sweet creamed corn on a stick. And why wait for dessert to serve these on a sultry night? Serve them as starters with a glass of chilled fino sherry for a cool twist on a first course.

Because your summer could use a little extra produce—and dessert.

Tomato Watermelon Pops

Recipe by Hannah Hudson

3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, chopped 2 pounds watermelon, cubed 2 limes, juiced 1 tablespoon sugar Thinly sliced jalapeños (to taste) 1 pinch sea salt

Blend tomatoes in a food processor or blender; let drain through a sieve until completely drained. Reserve the strained juice. Repeat with the watermelon.

Combine the tomato, watermelon and lime juice. Wearing gloves, seed the jalapeños and thinly slice them. Add as much jalepeño as desired for spice and let steep in the combined juice for an hour. For extra spice, leave sliced jalapeño inside the popsicles. Freeze overnight. Makes about 12 6-ounce pops.

Pleasant Pops Sweet Cream and Corn

Pleasant Pops, a frozen pops maker and retailer, was founded by friends Roger Horowitz and Brian Sykora, while in college. They started selling their frozen pops, made with the freshest ingredients from local farmers when ever seasonal and possible, and premiered their pops at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market. They now have two retail locations in Adams Morgan and downtown DC, where they serve up craft coffee, a menu of pop flavors and café food including soup and sandwiches. They also sell locally made food products, and strongly support local producers in the DC area and love working with other small food startups that have similar stories to theirs. They shared this recipe with us, and much of the sweet corn found at area farm markets now are heirloom or varieties that grow uniquely well in the DMV farm area. For more information, go to

4 ears corn (Use the sweetest corn from your local farmers market.) ½ gallon milk (We use Trickling Spring Whole milk, available from our shop or many other purveyors.) 2 cups organic cane sugar (Or substitute honey, agave or maple syrup.)

Shuck the corn and, using a knife, take off all of the kernels. Save the cobs! Add the 4 corn cobs, all of the kernels, all of the milk and sugar to stockpot and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat (be careful that it doesn’t boil or reach a scalding temp (180°).

Remove cobs and make sure that all of the other ingredients are completely mixed together. Cool your mixture in an ice bath in your sink or in a bigger pot or bowl. Once cool, pour your pops in any ice pop molds or even little paper cups in a pinch. Remember to put your sticks in the middle (this can be done an hour after the pops have been in a freezer so the mixture is beginning to harden.)

Pops should be frozen in 2 or 3 hours in your freezer, as long as they have been cooled down before going in.

Yield about 12 (6-ounce) pops.