As the state of South Carolina declared in 1976 when it named grits the official state food, “Throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality . . . A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.” Grits are such a staple southern food that it is said that three-quarters of the grits sold in the United States are purchased in the “grits belt” that stretches along the East Coast from Louisiana to the Carolinas. I’ve grown to love this humble dish of ground corn baked or boiled with water or milk, and like to dress it up with luxury ingredients like truffle oil, great cheese, and wild mushrooms.–Marcus Samuelsson
Wild Mushroom Grits
- 4 bacon slices chopped
- 1 red onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 4 shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced
- 6 chanterelle mushrooms cut in half
- 4 oyster mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
- 1 cup grits
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
- 4 basil leaves torn into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the shiitakes, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, and rosemary and saute for another 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Combine the grits, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for another 10 minutes.
- While the grits are cooking, poach the eggs by bringing 4 cups water to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the vinegar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Break 1 egg into a small cup or ramekin and gently slide the egg into the water. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Poach until the whites are firm and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, strain, and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream, mushroom mixture, olive oil, Parmesan, truffle oil, basil, and pepper into the grits. To serve, place each egg in a bowl. Spoon the grits over the top.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This grits dish is Southern comfort food elevated to a new level. The recipe is incredibly rich, but if you’re looking for a decadent meal, this is delicious. If you’re watching your calories and cholesterol you could also leave out the eggs, bacon, and cream as I did the second time I made it…it’s still perfectly wonderful!
Originally published December 07, 2009