Greens and Grits

Greens and Grits

This one is a favorite around here, especially when fall greens are in abundance. I bought some beautiful Siberian and dinosaur kale (reminder to self: plant some kale!) from Harland’s Creek Farm with thoughts of making a raw kale salad, but when it got cold, all I could think of was grits and greens. It’s a fairly simple recipe that makes very good ingredients special.

The source is from Melissa Clark’s A Good Appetite column at New York Times, where she uses polenta instead of grits, and while I have nothing against polenta, I’m very much in favor of grits, and I firmly believe that no Sunday should be without grits for brunch. The difference between the two is that polenta uses finer cornmeal and olive oil, whereas grits uses coarser cornmeal that is treated with lye and of course, butter. I could be wrong, but having cooked both, that’s the only difference I can tell.

Greens and Grits

I’m sure everyone has a recipe for cooking grits, but the gist is this: you boil 4 cups of liquid, either water, cream, or a combination of both, add a cup of grits (don’t use the quick cooking variety- I use the one from Crooks Corner) and a teaspoon or so of salt. Here’s the recipe, more or less a combination of Lee Bros. Southern and Bill Smith’s recipe on the back of the bag.

2 cups water
2 cups milk (I used low-fat milk from Maple View Dairy), some folks swear by heavy cream
1 cup grits (from Crooks Corner, though Brinkley Farms offers some as well)
3/4-1 tsp salt (to taste)
as much butter you think is necessary
freshly ground pepper, to taste
optional: finely ground parmesan or cheddar, to stir in after cooking

Boil water and milk- do not let it overboil. When the liquid boils, stir in grits and reduce heat to medium. Keep stirring until it gets thick, about 5-10 minutes (it really depends on your stove). If the grits splash outside of the pot and burn you, reduce the heat and scold it (okay, that’s just me). Reduce heat to a simmer (as low as you can), and stir every 2-3 minutes or when you remember for about 15-30 minutes- your grits will fall from the pot as you stir and have a nice thick consistency. Keep warm until you’re ready to serve, then add butter and pepper and the optional cheese (optional because you’ll be adding cheese to the whole dish later on).

bunch of greens for 2 people- spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli rabe, or even collards, chopped, from Harland’s Creek Farm
as much chopped garlic as you want, from Small Potatoes Farm
pinch of hot pepper flakes (or two pinches if your partner is not a hot spice wimp), from Wild Scallions Farm
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Heat olive oil in a skillet at med-high. When the pan is hot, add the hot pepper flakes. About 30 seconds-1 minute later add garlic and stir fry it until it turns a little crisp. Add one handful of greens, cook, and when they are soft, add another handful, and so on until you have cooked all the greens. Add salt and pepper and mix. Lower the heat and keep warm.

To assemble:
Fry two eggs in any way you want (I like mine over easy). Place grits and greens next to each other, a fried egg on top, and shave some Parmesan or Chapel Hill Creamery Asiago on top.

Additional note:
If you have any leftover grits (Good luck…ours did not make it to the fridge), you could deep-fry them the next day to make gritcakes, add an egg and/or sliced avocado, and have an instant breakfast.

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