I know we have talked about grits before, but the time seems right to do so again. The pandemic, or as I like to say, these most unpleasant times, seems to drag on forever, and I find myself longing for comfort food.
I stopped by Jacked Up Coffee Bar in Biloxi recently and owner Dixie Grimes informed me that she had added grits to the menu. She said, “They are so good, people who don’t even like grits love them.” I did try them the next time I was in for an early morning coffee, and they were good, really good. It got the culinary gears rolling.
Grits come in two basic varieties, white and yellow. As a grit aficionado, please don’t bring up instant grits to me. Yes, I am a snob about it. As with everything I cook, the quality of the ingredients is of great importance. Ok, ok, if you are in a hurry or just can’t afford a sack of stone-ground grits, I understand, but I’ll do without before I go instant. Dixie’s grits were white and as good as they were, I still like yellow grits best. I always buy Original Grit Girl grits at the Ocean Springs Saturday morning fresh market. They are simply the best I have ever had. Please give them a try.
Sorry for getting carried away there, but I am passionate about grits. Dixie’s grits got me in the mood, and I made a batch (check out the basic recipe below). This time, I made a savory batch and a sweet batch. The sweet was perfect for breakfast, or as a snack after a long summertime afternoon nap. Top a portion of cheese grits with homemade blueberry jam, and you’ll discover the perfect way to wake up from a nap or in the early morning.
The savory recipe was almost as simple. I make a tomato sauce with a can of imported Italian whole tomatoes, one chopped onion, one chopped bell pepper, one chopped jalapeno, one glass of dry red wine, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Simmer until thick. Top the grit cakes with the sauce, add parmesan cheese, and run under the broiler. A glass of dry rosé is a delightful accompaniment.
I just adore grits, but these are two of my favorite ways to prepare them. What do you think?
One last note. Do not forsake your friends and neighbors in these hard times. Make a little bit extra and drop them off to people who are having a hard time. It’s a very good time to be a good person.
I also like to sauté leftover grit cakes in butter to give them a nice brown crust, then serve with a poached egg and breakfast sausages. Here’s that recipe:
- 1 cup of Original Grit Girl Grits
- 2 cups of whipping cream
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 2 cups of quality white cheddar or Swiss cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons of butter
- Red pepper flakes
Combine all the ingredients, except for the cheese. Bring to a simmer, and cover. Stir often. After 15 minutes, add the cheese. Cover and keep stirring. Should be ready in about 10 minutes. Pour into muffin molds and allow them to become firm. Enjoy!