Highlands Baked Grits

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For the grits

      • 1 teaspoon salt, kosher
      • 1 cup yellow stone-ground grits (organic preferred)
      • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
      • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
      • Freshly ground white pepper to taste
      • 1 large egg, beaten

For the sauce

      • ½ cup white wine
      • ¼ cup sherry vinegar, or to individual preference
      • 2 shallots, minced
      • 1 bay leaf
      • 1 dried red chili pepper
      • 1 to 2 ounces country ham or prosciutto
      • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
      • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, and more for greasing the ramekins or casserole
      • 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
      • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
      • Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to preference
      • Hot sauce, like Tabasco or Cholula
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 2 thin slices country ham or prosciutto, thinly cut into strips
      • ½ cup chanterelle, morel, shiitake or oyster mushrooms, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
      • 1 shallot, minced
      • Thyme leaves for garnish


    1. Use a large heavy saucepan to bring 4 cups of water and salt to boil. Use a wooden spoon to stir while adding the grits in a steady, slow stream. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and is tender, roughly 45-60 minutes. Take off the heat and add the butter, Parmigiano, white pepper, and stir until fully incorporated. Next, stir in the egg to also incorporate.
    2. While waiting, preheat the oven to 375. Next, butter a large oven-safe casserole dish, or 8-10 4-6 ounce ramekins to hold the grits.
    3. Evenly portion the grits into the buttered ramekins, or fill the casserole dish. Next, place in a baking pan and add enough hot water to come up halfway along the sides of either the ramekins or the casserole. Using foil to cover, bake for 15 minutes. Take off the foil and allow to bake for roughly 20 minutes more, or until the tops start to brown & go crusty.
    4. While the grits continue to bake, in a medium sauté pan combine the wine, vinegar, bay leaf, shallots, chili pepper & ham. Set to a high heat and bring to a boil.
    5. Cook this mixture down until roughly 1 tablespoon of liquid is left. Reduce the heat to low, and proceed to stir in the cream. Whisking in the butter a portion at a time, add a new piece as the previous one incorporates.
    6. Strain the sauce into a saucepan. Add the Parmigiano, season with salt & pepper, lemon juice, and hot sauce according to personal preferences. Keep warm.
    7. In a small sauté pan on medium-high heat, heat up your olive oil. Add the thinly-cut ham (or prosciutto), mushrooms & shallot. Cook until the mushrooms barely tender, approximately 3-4 minutes.
    8. To plate up, unmold the grits onto plates, with their brown sides up. Spoon a little sauce around the grits, and add the mushrooms & ham on top. Finally, garnish with some thyme. If you’ve chosen the casserole, you can pour the sauce over the top, garnish with thyme leaves, and serve in large, heaping spoonfuls. Add extra sauce on the side, and enjoy!