Cheese + Chive Fried Grits

I made these with stoneground yellow grits from Sylvan Falls Mill in Georgia (courtesy of my step-mom). 

I'm a grits girl. Always have been. Always will be.

And in a kind of surprising coincidence, my wife is too. Though she had not or could not eat many of my favorite Southern or Cajun foods (being Jewish and from the North), she had grown up eating grits because one of her best childhood friends had a mother from South Carolina who made them. And she actually introduced me to stoneground yellow grits, which have a nuttier flavor than the traditional white grits I grew up eating and are now what we keep around the house.

We have a new favorite brunch spot in downtown Burlington, and we almost always get a side of grits. The first time we ordered them, we were surprised when the server brought two triangular patties to our table rather than a bowl of grits. I've had fried polenta, which is essentially the same thing, but these tasted like the delicious cheese grits I've always loved - just fried.

And we all know the only way to make a perfect food better is to fry it.

I think The Swingin' Pinwheel deep fries theirs (though not battered), but that's a lot of work and also mostly unnecessary. We just pan fried ours in a little oil, and they were heavenly. A little crunch on the outside and cheesy, creamy goodness on the inside. Yes please.

Cheese + Chive Fried Grits 

1 cup yellow grits
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives

1. Pour grits, salt, and water into a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
3. While the grits are cooking, line a 9x9 pan with two pieces of parchment paper - one going in each direction.
4. Once the grits are creamy and have soaked up all the water, stir in the cheese and the chopped chives. (If you don't want to fry your grits, you could enjoy them just like this.)
5. Pour the grits into the pan and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour (overnight is fine).
6. Once the grits have chilled, cut them into triangles and pan fry them over medium high heat with a little oil. You don't need much - maybe a tablespoon. Canola or grapeseed oil works best because of the temperature.
7. Let the triangles fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes. Once both sides are nice and brown, put the fried grits onto a paper towel and then serve.

A note about the grits to water ratio: if you look up how to make grits online, most recipes will tell you to use a 4:1 ratio of water to grits. I always use a 3:1 ratio because they cook faster, and I like that the grits retain a little of their structure for a denser, nuttier dish.

These can be a breakfast food, but they don't have to be. I served ours with salad for dinner.

p.s. Boiled peanuts

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