Yield
Makes 24 fritters
Time
3-4 hours or overnight (for refrigerating mixture) prep, 25 minutes (cooking batches of 3-4 fritters at a time) total

These are appropriately yummy morning, noon, and night. Serve them at breakfast, brunch, cocktail hour, or dinner with a homemade aioli, sour cream or hot pepper jelly. You may have your own favorite gristmill for good grits, but we are very partial to Louismill Smoked Yellow Corn City Grits, which lend another nuanced smokiness in addition to the country ham.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup yellow grits, such as Louismill
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup diced country ham
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups panko breadcrumbs

Bourbon Country Cookbook book cover Bourbon Country Cookbook by David Danielson and Tim Laird

Directions

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 2 cups of the water and the milk and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir occasionally until the grits thicken and are smooth, about 20 minutes. Stir in the butter, salt, pepper, and cheese, whisking until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the country ham and green onions. Transfer the mixture to a 9 × 9-inch baking pan, cover, and refrigerate until cool and firm, 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

After the grits have cooled, place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Heat 3 to 4 inches of the oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°F. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and remaining 1 tablespoon of water and whisk thoroughly. In a separate bowl, place the breadcrumbs.

Using your hands, scoop the chilled grits and roll them into 2-inch balls, placing each ball on a clean work surface until all have been rolled. One at a time, dip the balls into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure they are completely coated.

Fry the fritters in batches, three to four at a time, for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Transfer the fritters to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Serve warm.

Reprinted with permission from The Bourbon Country Cookbook by David Danielson and Tim Laird, Agate Surrey, 2018.