Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Marian Cooper Cairns
Savory roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, and feta cheese speckle these indulgent buttermilk grits. Finely grated garlic gives rich flavor to the dish, while the creamy grits meld the ingredients together perfectly. Buttermilk adds a subtle, creamy tang to these stone-ground grits, which were inspired by the extraordinary artisan grits made by Jim Barkley’s mill, Barkley’s Mill, in North Carolina. For his stone-ground grits, Barkley uses vintage gristmills that were refurbished and placed in a pristine millhouse at Barkley’s Mill, and the beauty of these old machines is more than stone-deep. Grinding between the vertical stones of the gristmills keeps the corn from overheating during the milling process, protecting the integrity of the whole grain. The freshly ground grits are scooped by hand into cloth sacks, tied closed, and chilled. Those who appreciate corn grits know that this specially crafted flavor is worth every penny! Grits can fit in with just about any Southern meal, at any time of day, on any holiday, or with any dish. Simmering until creamy and thickened is the key to the texture of perfectly cooked grits, and adding butter towards the end ensures epic flavor.
4 cups water
1 cup whole milk
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits
3/4 cup whole buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 (10-oz.) containers grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
Topping: crumbled feta cheese
How to Make It
Bring 4 cups water, 1 cup whole milk, and 1 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Gradually whisk in 1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until creamy and thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
Halve 1 1⁄2 (10-oz.) containers grape tomatoes. Toss together tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1⁄2 tsp. black pepper on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400°F until browned, about 30 minutes.
Remove grits from heat, and stir in 3⁄4 cup whole buttermilk and 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter. Stir tomatoes, 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil, and 2 garlic cloves into grits. Sprinkle servings with crumbled feta cheese.