When in NYC…. do as Southerners do? Yes. Please do.
Alex and I went to Butter Midtown before heading to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway in April. This is Iron Chef and Food Network Star, Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurant. You’d really never even see it if you didn’t know it was there… underground, small unassuming sign. But inside I had another life changing moment. So please, should you find yourself in NYC, find this restaurant.
I’ve mentioned my life changing grits before. Well, apparently grits had more to teach me. On the menu at Butter was an unassuming side dish, which was called “Geechie Boy South Carolina” Grits. I figured they would be cheesy, like every other grits I’d experienced. But, no! These grits were sweet! Like the best cornbread you have ever had, in grits form. Another revelation.
I ran straight home and found the Geechie Boy website. Yet again, another revelation! Did you know grits come in different colors? White and yellow really weren’t that surprising, but red and blue? How patriotic! Well, with $60 worth of multi-colored grits in the mail, I got to menu planning.
Here’s what I did with the blue grits. If you don’t have quite as colorful a cupboard as mine, don’t worry, white and yellow grits will work just fine. But, should you have the chance, give the blue ones a try… that is, unless you’re lucky enough to be at Butter and you can experience the revelation first hand!
Roasted Chicken with Fennel and Sweet Blue Grits
Roasted Chicken with Fennel
- 4 chicken thighs, with skin
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced (save fronds for garnish)
- 1/4 red onion, sliced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt & pepper
- 1 tsp aleppo pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a sheet pan, place fennel, onion and chicken. Drizzle everything with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and Aleppo pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Plate on top of grits and sprinkle with fennel fronds for garnish.
Sweet Southern Blue Grits
- 1 ear of corn, shucked
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 c blue grits
- 2 c water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp butter
First remove the kernels from the corn cob with a sharp knife. Once the kernels are off, flip the knife blade to the top (dull) side, and run your knife along the corn cob to release the remaining corn starch and juices. Put the corn and 1 Tbsp water in a small food processor and blend until smooth. Put the corn puree, honey, grits, 2 c water, and salt in a medium pan and heat until the water begins to boil, then reduce to low heat. Cook the grits for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the butter. Cook for an additional 30 minutes until grits are soft.