March 6, 2011

All Fried Out

I’m craving cabbage today. Roasted…raw…I don’t really care. All I want is something that isn’t fried.

Boy, have we had our fair share of fried foods lately. It needs to stop. I’m too young to have a heart attack.

But, before it stops, we had ourselves some pretty delicious grit cakes last night, thanks to Zach, that I feel I should share.

As you can see, they were pan-fried in olive oil, which gave them a great crispy crust.

But before that, the grits were combined with…(wait for it)…cream cheese. And butter. For the love of god, how could they not be good? Garlic, chicken stock, butter, cream cheese, panko. Fried in olive oil. I mean, seriously. I’m actually regretting eating the one I had for lunch just a little while ago after reading this recipe in detail. There are many reasons that I am no longer the weight that I was when I was in my early 20’s. This recipe is one of them.

The recipe came from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. They are meant to be served with Keller’s Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce. We skipped this step last night because we had juice from the short ribs Zach also made. But I think the tomato sauce would be a great addition on a night w/o short ribs.

Grit cakes with a fresh tomato sauce would make a great dinner if you rounded it out with a simple mixed greens salad. I can also see mini grit cakes with a small dollop of tomato sauce as an app for a cocktail party. I will be coming up with many grit cake apertures, I'm sure.

Give them a try. In the meantime, I will be trying to cleanse my system of all of the wonderful delectable (and very unhealthy) things I’ve eaten as of late before my mom gets into town on Wednesday and the food free-for-all starts all over again.

All in (some form of) moderation, right?

Grit Cakes, adapted from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

1 garlic clove
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
3 ½ cups chicken stock
2 cups quick 5-minute grits
1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temp
1/3 cup cream cheese, at room temp
½ cup flour
3 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups panko crumbs
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Olive oil

Finely chop the garlic, and turn it into a paste by combining about ¼ tsp salt and scraping it with the side of a knife.

Place garlic paste in medium saucepan, along with chicken stock, and a little bit of salt to taste, and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low and slowly add the grits, whisking continuously, until liquid is absorbed and grits are cooked, about 5 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in the butter, and then the cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Line a 9X13 inch pan with parchment paper, and pour in grits, smoothing it flat (it will be about ½ inch thick). Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and press down to flatten. Place in fridge, and let set at least 2 hours, preferable 4 hours.

After grits have set, cut into 12 pieces.

Place flour in shallow bowl or on plate. Place eggs in shallow bowl and season with some salt and pepper. Place panko and chopped parsley in third shallow bowl or on plate.

Dip each cake into the flour, shaking off excess. Then dip each cake into the eggs, letting excess drip off. Last, dip each cake into the panko and parsley mixture.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In large non-stick frying pan, heat about ¼ inch of oil over medium heat. Add grit cakes, being careful not to crowd. Let brown about 2 minutes each side, or until golden brown.

Do in batches, until all cakes have been fried. Keep fried cakes in oven on baking sheet lined with parchment.

Serves 12 as a side; 6 as a main dish.

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