Subhead: Flatiron's chef shares his favorite kitchen gadget

Subhead: Flatiron’s chef shares his favorite kitchen gadget

Flatiron excels in Cajun and Creole fare, but chef Steve Nicholson, 41, didn’t start out cooking lowcountry favorites. He grew up in Boston, learning how to make Italian food at his mother’s side. Then he studied French cuisine at nearby Newbury College.

When he moved to Columbus and started working at Flatiron, the restaurant’s owner wanted to add his favorite foods of the South—cornmeal-crusted shrimp, pulled pork, brisket and ribs.

At home in Clintonville, Nicholson cooks a variety of dishes: fish tacos, braised meats, pork belly. But no matter what the cuisine, he says he would be lost without his spice grinder—a coffee grinder he uses to pulverize whole spices into fine powders.

“You get such a better flavor,” he said. “Just the freshness of it. Flavors seem to pop.



Makes 4 servings


4 whole bay leaves

2 t dried rosemary

1 t dried basil

1 t dried oregano

1 t kosher salt

½ t cayenne pepper

1 T paprika

1 t whole black


2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup vegetable oil

2 t fresh lemon juice

2 t minced garlic

2 lbs shrimp in the shell (21-25/lb)

Crostini or any hard-crusted bread, cut on the diagonal

Combine all the spices in a spice grinder. Buzz them to a fine powder.

In saucepan, melt the butter with the oil. Add the spices, garlic and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes. Pull off the heat and let stand at room temperature until ready to finish the dish.

Add shrimp. Put pan back on burner. Cook just until the shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes. Serve over crostini or bread.

Robin Davis is the Columbus Dispatch’s food editor. To subscribe to her weekly newsletter, visit ">

Photo by Jodi Miller