Pork and Grits

I’ve only started using grits in my cooking recently, but I’m glad I discovered them, even if it is belatedly.

Probably because I was raised in the North, I never had much exposure to grits. About the only time I remember hearing about them growing up was when Flo, the sassy waitress on the TV show “Alice”, would tell people, “Kiss my grits!”

Grits are most definitely a Southern thing. Up north, people generally eat cream of wheat or oatmeal instead of grits. The closest thing we have is polenta, which like grits is made of corn meal but unlike grits is not treated with alkali.

It is one of America’s oldest foods, having been first introduced into the culture by Native Americans.

While grits are most typically eaten as a breakfast dish, they are starting to show up as part of dinner entrees. Shrimp and grits, which is a Louisiana dish, is now on many restaurant menus nationwide

Grits can be made either sweetened or savory. For breakfast, I prefer to make them with half milk and half water — this is known as Charleston-style — add a tab of whole butter and sweeten them with honey.

As a dinner side, I make grits will all water, butter, salt and fresh cracked black pepper and usually a lot of Parmesan or Romano cheese. You can use grits anywhere you would use polenta and the results will be delicious.

Pork and Grits

1 pork tenderloin, about 1-1/2 lb

6 TBS grits

2 cups water

Sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan and/or Romano cheese

2 TBS whole unsalted butter

1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce

1. Turn on grill (I used an indoor grill because it’s still wintery here, but an outdoor grill — gas or charcoal — is preferred). When hot, spray pork tenderloin with pay spray, season it generously with salt and pepper and throw it on the oiled grill. Turn occassionally so that all sides are marked, then reduce heat, move the tenderloin to a place on the grill where there is indirect heat, and let cook until done, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the t-loin. Remove from heat, cover with foil and let rest for at least five minutes before slicing.

2. Bring water to a boil, add a dash of salt then whisk in the grits. Reduce heat and simmer until grits have thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished, remove from heat and fold in butter and cheeses with a spatula. Balance at the end with salt and pepper because Parmesan and Romano already contain a lot of salt and you don’t want the grits to be too salty.

3. To plate, pile the grits in the middle of a plate or bowl. Pour the teriyaki sauce on the bottom so that it pools around the grits. Slice the tenderloin at a bias and then shingle along the sides of the grits.

I usually serve this with some sort of steamed green vegetable such a green beans, broccoli or Brussels sprouts, depending on what looks good at the market.

Programming note: I will be going on vacation for the next week, so there will be no new blogs until about March 15. Hope you all have a great week and I’ll see you when I get back!