Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Olde Pink House: Southern Lowcountry Cuisine

Southern Living calls the Olde Pink House a "Savannah culinary institution'' and the "most Savannah-esque restaurant in town.'' The restaurant occupies a Georgian-style mansion built in 1771 by Joseph Habersham Jr., who lived in the house until his death in 1802. The mansion's old brick exterior is covered with a soft pink stucco, giving the house and restaurant, its name. Mr. Habersham's ghost is said to inhabit the house, however he only appears between October and March, perhaps to avoid the summer heat. The menu at the Olde Pink House is elegant American fare with an emphasis on seafood. The influence is Southern, specifically Low Country, with elements like grits, buttermilk, she-crab soup and sweet potatoes. 

The elegant 18th-century interior of The Olde Pink House

The menu features typical dishes of Savannah's old world southern cuisine

Housemade cheese straws were light and crisp and bursting with flavour

A glass of Pinot Grigio

A glass of red wine

Shrimp Cocktail made with local shrimp

Low Country She-Crab Soup

Country Fried Chicken with visalia black pepper gravy, mashed potatoes and collard greens

Shrimp Gumbo with tomato, okra, sausage and rice

The Olde Pink House Sauteed Shrimp With Country Ham and Grits Cake
Serves 2
Recipe courtesy of Chef Vincent Burns, The Olde Pink House

4 oz heavy cream
2 oz cured ham
8 jumbo shrimp
1 oz clarified butter
12 oz grits
6 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp minced chives, for garnish
Sautéed collard greens, optional

For grits cakes: Prepare the grits according to package directions. Stir in the shredded Cheddar until the cheese is melted. Pour into a cookie sheet pan that allows for grits to spread to about 1-inch thickness. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes, then cut into 1-inch squares. Flour the grits squares. Fry two squares in 1 inch of vegetable oil for 2 to 3 minutes, until each side is deep brown.

For shrimp sauce: In clean sauté pan, add 1 ounce of butter. Sauté the ham in butter for 2 minutes, until it begins to become crispy. Add the shrimp to pan and sauté until pink, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and reduce over high heat until it becomes thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Pour half of the sauce over each of the grits cakes. Serve with collard greens if desired.