Monday, December 03, 2012

bacon-cheddar-grits balls

1 cup uncooked grits
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
8-10 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs (for egg wash)
3 cups Panko bread crumbs (or Ritz cracker crumbs)
oil for frying
Heat milk until it is beginning to simmer and whisk in grits gradually. Add salt and cook until grits pull away from the side of the saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, bacon, and pepper; keep stirring until cheese is melted. Spread out on a greased baking sheet and let cool. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours.

To prepare grits balls, put cold grits mixture into a bowl and roll grits into 1 inch balls. Whisk together eggs and 1/4 cup water. Put breadcrumbs in another bowl. Dip balls in egg wash, and roll in breadcrumbs.

Pour oil to depth of 3 inches in a large, heavy skillet; heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Fry fritters, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Keep fritters warm on a wire rack in a pan in a 225° oven up to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

NOTE: You can make the grits balls and then cover and chill in a single layer up to 4 hours, if you want to make them ahead of time and then fry as directed. You may also freeze on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until firm and then transfer to a zip-top plastic bag and freeze. Cook frozen fritters as directed, increasing cooking time to 5 to 6 minutes or until golden and centers are thoroughly heated.

This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in Southern Living magazine.