It's easy to imagine fried grits were invented by a family that did not believe in throwing out leftovers. Whatever the origins of the dish, it has come to transcend the breakfast table, and can do double-duty as a stylish bread substitute at dinner.
Real fried grits are never deep fried, but rather are sautéed in butter on a hot stovetop. Maybe they should be called sautéed grits, but no one ever calls them that.
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned grits (not the quick type)
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon medium-heat cayenne hot sauce (we prefer SouthernAirs ORIGINAL Hot Sauce)
Slowly stir the grits and salt into 6 cups of boiling water, using a saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cover, cooking for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally until the grits are thickened and done. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and the hot sauce. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 5 hours. Then cut the grits into brownie-sized squares. Dip the squares into the egg mixture, then roll them in the flour. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough of the grits squares to fill the skillet and cook them about 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. A slightly crispy exterior is important. Remove from the skillet and keep warm. Add more butter to the skillet, and repeat with the remaining grits squares. Serve hot.
SouthernAirs developed some of these recipes, aiming as always for authenticity. Others are on loan from cited friends and relatives, or from authoritative sources with permission.