Every now and then, I tear myself away from weeding and digging and go to the Big City. I put on high heels, smokey eyeliner, and maybe a pencil skirt. Because when I go to Atlanta, it’s not to sleep. It’s to hang out with beautiful people.
And to see gorgeous cityscapes, like red chandeliers, shimmering against old concrete and brick walls.
And it’s definitely about food. Really good food. Like this beautiful crispy duck. Crispy. Duck.
My daughter had the sniffles, so she ordered a perfectly presented hot toddy. I might need to get the sniffles next time I visit. The toddy was so warm and soothing.
Then there was my favorite dish, mushrooms and grits. Creamy, cheesy stone-ground grits. Topped with buttery wild mushrooms, a poached egg, and pecan gremolata. Divine. Thank you, Parish!
This dish was so rich and satisfying, I had to give it a try at home. I used the best stone-ground grits and wild mushrooms that I could find. An aged Pecorino cheese melts gorgeously into the steaming, creamy grits. Farm fresh eggs, perfectly poached, make a delicate sauce. I substituted a little crispy home-cured pancetta for the pecan gremolata, because I live in the country! It was close enough to bring back memories of a lovely evening in Atlanta. I’m happy to share my version with you.
Stone-Ground Grits with Mushrooms
4 cups spring water
1 cup stone-ground grits
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Pecorino cheese
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Pancetta, cubed small
1/4 red oe sweet onion, sliced fairly thing
1 package fresh mixed wild sliced mushrooms
1/4 dry white wine
1 small bunch arugula or other greens
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 or more farm fresh eggs
For the Grits: In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the salt. Slowly whisk in the grits, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the butter and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the Mushrooms: While the grits are cooking, in a medium saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the tasso ham, and saute until crisp. Add the sliced onion and cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms and white wine, cover and saute until the mushrooms release their juices and soften, about 30 minutes. Add the greens, and cook for just a few minutes, until the greens wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the Eggs: Fill a medium sauce pan with water. Add the vinegar and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Break an egg into a saucer and slip into the water very gently. Add the eggs one-by-one in the same manner. Cook until the white are firm, but the yolks are soft, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the eggs and pat them dry a bit with a paper towel.
To Serve: Turn the creamy grits into a serving bowl, and top with the mushroom mixture. Gently place the poached eggs atop, and serve.