Grits and poached egg グリッツとポーチドエッグ

japanese cake

This could be a “shime” 締 ending dish or, more traditionally, a breakfast. It is a variation of “Okayu” お粥 or porridge but in a US Southern style. It is a very comforting and nice starch dish. This one is prepared by my wife and I only help by chopping up the chives and making the poached eggs.

Grits is a very Southern food and my wife is not even from the South but we adapted this dish for some reason. Instead of the more traditional grits which is eaten as a breakfast with additions of cheese, butter or maple syrup (a Northern addition to a Southern dish…don’t ask why), we make it savory. We cook the grits in milk instead of water. Just in case you are not familiar with grits, it is coarsely ground alkaline-treated hard kernel corn. Alkaline treated corn prevents the development of a niacin deficiency (Pellagra) especially if your main diet consists of corn. I do not know who first figured this out but certainly American Indians (“hominy” from which grits is made) and Mexicans (“masa harina” for corn tortilla is also made from alkaline treated corn) must be among the first. This treatment also created another flavor different from regular corn meal. Grits and polenta are similar yet distinctive in their taste. The description below is how my wife makes grits.

Grits: She prefers to use “Quick” grits (Quaker brand) rather than “Instant” grits. Quick grits, which has been pre-steamed and then dried, requires about 5 minutes cook time but it is more “authentic” in flavor and consistency than  the “instant” variety. True old fashioned stone-ground grits will take way too long to cook. 

For two small serving, in a small but deep pan, add milk (one cup, we use 1%) and just when it starts boiling, add salt (1/4 tsp) and grits (3 tbs) while stirring with a whisk, turn down the flame and cook covered for 5 minutes until all the milk gets absorbed. Add chopped fresh chives (3-4 tbs). She adds 1 pat of  butter (1/2 tbs) but no cheese.

Poached eggs: I poach eggs very simply without any vinegar and without any special techniques or gadgets but works all the time. I used a 8 inch frying pan with non-stick surface and with a high side wall so that it can have enough depth of water to completely submerge the eggs. After the water comes to a gentle boil, I adjust the heat so no or only few bubbles form in the water (many bubbles result in egg-drop soup). I then add 1 tsp of salt (just for seasoning). I crack the egg into a small ramekin or bowl and gently slide the egg into the water. Repeat the process. After the white is set and the egg yolk becomes opaque on the surface (4-5 minutes), using the perforated spoon or silicon spatula gently pry the bottom of the eggs from the surface of the pan; take care not to break the yolk. The eggs should come loose without a problem because of the non-stick surface. Pick up the egg using a perforated spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Place the grits in a bowl and put the poached egg on top. Sprinkle with salt and serve. For breakfast my wife serves this with her home-made buttermilk biscuit (another Southern specialty) but for the “shime” dish serve as is. Break the egg yolk and mix it with the grits. Even if you are not from the South, you will like this dish.

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