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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Deep-fried grits. Let the mother-slapping begin.

My recent taste of Jason’s deep-fried mac-n-cheese reminded me of one of my favorite treats: Deep-fried grits at the OK Café.

I try to fit in a visit every time I’m back home in the Atl - it’s right next to a Kroger, where I stop in to stock up on some other southern treats which I can’t seem to find up here: Quaker Instant Grits (red-eye gravy* flavor is the best!) pepper vinegar, and Durkee Famous Sauce (oddly enough, the pepper vinegar and Durkee's are both available on Amazon.com, as “gourmet” foods).

*Fry a country ham steak. Deglaze the pan with strong black coffee + a little water. Spoon the result over a biscuit and FREAK OUT.

I tried to recreate the deep-fried grits at home, and was pretty happy with the result. Try this - you won’t be sorry (even if you think you hate grits)! Here’s what I did:

You need:
· 9” X 13” Brownie pan, lined with parchment
· Medium pot - for making the grits
· Wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan (or deep-fryer) - for frying


Make the grits
· 2/3 C Quaker Quick Grits (not instant)
· 2 1/4 C water
· 4 oz. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
· Dash garlic powder
· Salt & pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil and stir in grits slowly. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook about 12 minutes, or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Add cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper, stirring to melt the cheese. These should be thick (more so than regular grits), but still thin enough to spread in the brownie pan. If you need to thin them out a bit, just stir in some hot water (only a little!) until you’re happy with them.

Next, spread the grits evenly in the parchment-lined brownie pan. They should end up about ¾ inch thick. Cover this and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Now, the fun part
· Canola oil
· Panko breadcrumbs
· Wire rack

Lift the refrigerated grits out of the brownie pan with the help of the parchment. They’ll be firm and cuttable by now.

Cut into 3” x 3” squares, and then half those diagonally to make triangles. Dredge in breadcrumbs and fry in about ½ inch oil, a minute or two on each side. Remove when they’re brown and crispy and drain on wire rack.

The OK Café serves these with Jalapeno gravy and shredded cheddar cheese on top (as far as I can tell, the Jalapeno gravy is just milk gravy with some jalapeno bits stirred in). It’s very good, but you could eat these plain and they’d still be pretty yummy. They’d also be good dipped in some standard marinara sauce.

Enjoy!

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