Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rinse Yer Grits

It only took me a few years, but I finally figured out why every time I made up a batch of local stone-ground grits (like the Mill at Riverside kind that are sold at grocery stores and specialty shops around Charleston) there were unpleasant hulls and shells in them. You gotta rinse yer grits!

It's easy to do. Just pour the amount of grits you are going to serve into a large bowl and add enough water to cover them by an inch or so. Wait a few minutes until the bran (the hulls and whatnot) has floated to the top, then drain off the water, taking care not to pour the good grits out with the chaff. Repeat a couple of times if you like. The end results are grits that are rich, creamy, and completely husk-free.

After rinsing, my recipe for a perfect plate of grits is simple: bring 2 cups of milk almost to a boil (watch carefully--milk will boil up in a flash and foam all over your stove), then stir in 2/3rds of a cup grits along with a teaspoon of salt. Simmer for about a half hour, stirring occasionally, and serve.

Jim Dandy they ain't. Plain old white grits (and especially "instant" grits) made with water are, to be frank, just a step up from kindergarten paste. Fresh and coarsely ground and properly cooked (with milk or, if you want to go nuts, with cream), grits are a luxurious treat and a fine base for many delicious meals.
Just be sure to rinse 'em first.

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