Cheddar Jalapeno Grits
From Peter Oleyer of Calexico
“There is something uniquely comforting about a cheesy bowl of grits. As much as I love fresh sweet corn, I think grits are the finest expression of corn you can find. While you don’t see grits on the menu at most Mexican restaurants, here at Calexico we’re such freaks for corn that we had to include them! We don’t add any butter to our grits. That allows us to add more cheese, and at the end of the day what good are grits if they aren’t super cheesy? While unexpected, these cheesy jalapeño grits are an awesome addition to any summer BBQ. Trust me: Steaks, shrimp, sausages, and chicken off the grill are all way better when served alongside these craveable grits,” says Peter Oleyer, chef/partner at Calexico restaurants and carts in New York City.
- 1 cup Anson Mills Grits
- 3 cups water
- 8 oz. heavy cream (or more if you prefer more loose and creamy grits!
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (more sharp and more aged = more better)
- One small jalapeño
- 3-5 cloves of garlic (or more… you know who you are.)
- Two Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- One ear of corn
- One large tomato
- A few sprigs of cilantro
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- A dash of smoked paprika
If you are using a good coarse grit you should cover the grits with water and allow to soak overnight. “We prefer Anson Mills coarse ground antebellum grits. They are the best grits grown in America period and worth the effort to try and hunt down!” says Oleyer. After a soak in your refrigerator strain off and discard the soaking water. If using a different product you can skip this step. Follow the cooking instructions on the package using only the grits and water. Depending on the grind and the specific corn variety ratios and cooking times vary. Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium head and sauté minced jalapeño and minced garlic until aromatic and tender. About 3-5 minutes. Adjust the amount of jalapeño and garlic to suit your pallet. After the grits are cooked incorporate the heavy cream over low heat. Remove from the heat and fold in the cheese, garlic, and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook one ear of corn. Oleyer prefers to grill it or roast it in the oven, blanching in salted boiling water for two minutes will also do the trick. Cut the corn off the cob and transfer to a bowl. Dice the tomato and add to the bowl. Chop as much cilantro as you like and add to the bowl. Season with a touch of salt and pepper.
Scoop grits into a serving bowl. Top with some corn salsa. Add a dash of smoked paprika and enjoy!
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