Grits can be blank canvas which as a cook is very exciting to me. This amped up version has everything I love about grits and whole lot more.
- 2 ears corn
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 Anaheim chilies
- 3 slice bacon
- 4 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup stone ground white grits
- 8 ounce fontina cheese (grated)
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper (as needed for seasoning)
- 2 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves (loosely packed)
Make the grilled corn topping: Prepare the grill for medium indirect heat. Rub olive oil onto the corn to coat thoroughly. Grill, turning often, until the corn is lightly charred all over and just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside. Allow the corn to cool then cut the kernels off the cobs and set aside in a bowl. The corn can made to this point 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Char the chilies. Turn on the broiler. Set the chiles on a broiler pan and place them about 1‑inch under the flame. Leave the door open and watch them the entire time they char. Use tongs to turn them often until they are charred evenly all over, about 15 minutes. Move the hot chilies to a paper bag to steam and then cool completely. Use your fingers to run the charred skin off the chilies. Don’t worry if you can’t remove it all. Halve, seed and chop the chilies.
In a medium bowl combine the corn kernels and chopped chilies. Toss to combine. Set aside until ready to assemble.
Cook the bacon: Place bacon slices in a large, unheated heavy-bottomed or cast iron skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook bacon, turning often until crispy. About 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Roughly chop and set aside.
Make the grits: Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a 4‑qt. saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in grits; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes. Continue to cook until tender whisking occasionally, about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fontina, milk, butter, and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. While it is still warm and pourable transfer the grits to a shallow 1 or 1 ½ quart baking dish. You may have more grits than you need, so be sure to only fill the dish to about ½‑inch from top.
Scrape the corn and chili mixture on top of the grits, spreading it in and even layer then sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Set the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the heated oven. Cooked until hot and bubbly and beginning to brown on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with prepared chopped bacon and cilantro. Serve hot.