A New Yorker walked into a southern diner and said, “I’d like to try one of those grits”.
There are some serious misunderstandings about the oft-maligned grit. I suppose they derive from the name itself, “grits” sounding less fashionable than their european cousin, polenta. But grits, while they should hold their head high served plain or with gravy as classic southern breakfast fare, can also be a canvas for all kinds of combinations of flavors and ingredients. Grits are all grown up and joining you at the dinner table. This would make a wonderful side dish with pork chops and collard greens or fresh fish and spinach salad.
for the grits:
3 cups water
1 cup grits
1/4 t salt
1/2 c. shredded asiago cheese
For the topping:
8 oz mushroom of your choice, sliced
2 T pine nuts or slivered almonds
2 T butter
1/2-1 T flour (you can skip it if gluten is an issue)
1/3 cup white wine (or substitute chicken or vegetable broth)
Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in grits and asiago. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and let cook 5 min.
Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy duty pan or skillet over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add ~2T olive oil to the pan, then place the mushrooms in the olive oil, spread out so they can sear. Toss in the pine nuts or slivered almonds. Sauté mushrooms about 3 miuntes on each side until they are just softened and have a toasty brown color. Add 2 T butter and let melt. Toss in flour and stir. Add white wine and stir. Cook 2-3 minutes longer until wine is slightly reduced.
Place a heap of grits on a plate or in a bowl. Top with mushrooms and pine nuts. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and a thin slice or two of asiago.