Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grit Cakes with Basil and Chevre

Living in Asheville has it's perks. For instance, an array of farmer's market's throughout the week in different locations around town. It's an eater's paradise! I have become so spoiled by some items available only at market, I tend to get a little unsettled when I run out. Like Wayne's grits. I will not be able to go back to store bought grits again. Wayne's corn is so flavorful on its own, very little sprucing up is needed, (unlike some grits which require about a pound of butter and salt to taste like anything). Not these. These grits are a horse of a different color.
I like their versatility. Here is a favorite application: Grit cakes, layered with local chevre, minced garlic, and the season's first tender basil leaves.

Grit Cakes with Basil and Chevre: (serves 6-8 as a side)
*2 cups artisan grits
*7 cups water
*1 cup fresh milk (or 1 additional cup water)
*4 Tbsp unsalted butter
*sea salt
*fresh ground pepper
* 3/4 cup plain chevre
*about 12 large Genovese basil leaves, sliced thin
*2 large garlic cloves, minced very fine

Heat liquid in a large, heavy pot and bring to a gentle boil. Slowly whisk in the grits. Immediately reduce heat to lowest setting.

Add butter and some salt and pepper. Stir. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and grits are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to keep grits from sticking to bottom of pot. Taste and adjust seasonings as grits cook.
Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.
Preheat oven to 375.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour half of the cooked grits onto one side of the baking sheet. Spread evenly creating a square of grits, leaving one half of the baking sheet empty. Sprinkle with goat cheese, garlic and basil.

Spread the remaining grits over the top. Smooth out with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares and serving with additional chopped basil for garnish.

*Grit cakes can be stored covered in fridge. Reheat in a cast iron pan with a bit of butter to create a crispy outer crust. Incredible!

*Thanks to Mountain Xpress for featuring this recipe!

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