Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sweet Potato Grits + Maple Mushrooms and Fried Egg

I served a version of this tremendous grits dish at Restaurant Iris during our brunch last June. This dish walks a fine line between sweet and savory and can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It was definitely one of the crowd favorites at brunch, along with the sweet potato pancakes and pimento cheese stuffed peppers

All of this is to say that we are really looking forward to our next culinary event, which will be at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art on March 1st from 6-8 p.m. It's a benefit  called the Farmer Mixer for the Cooper-Young Community Farmer's Market. (Details and ticket info. to come in a couple of weeks. We hope to see y'all there come March!)

Andrew Adams from the Brushmark and Acre and The Chubby Vegetarian team will be putting together a menu of hors d' oeuvres based on farmers'  in-season ingredients. We are so excited to cook with such a talented chef. Rest assured -- there will be plenty of vegetarian options.

Sweet Potato Grits + Maple Mushrooms and  Fried Egg 
(serves 4)

4 eggs
1 tablespoon butter
Sweet Potato Grits (recipe follows)
Maple Mushrooms (recipe follows)
Parsley + Tomato Topping (recipe follows)
sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste

Make the grits, mushrooms, and topping according to the following recipes. Once you have the three recipes completed, follow these simple instructions to assemble your meal. Melt the butter in a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. Crack eggs into the pan one at at time. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the white has set and the yolk is still runny. Divide the grits between 4 bowls. Top each with a fried egg, a sprinkling of the Parsley + Tomato Topping, and finally the bacon-y Maple Mushrooms. Add a touch of cracked black pepper and Maldon sea salt to finish.

Sweet Potato Grits
1 cup baked sweet potato (about 1 medium)
2 cups 2% milk (or whole milk, or half and half)
1/2 cup yellow corn grits
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/4-1/2 cups vegetable stock or water

Bake sweet potato in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Remove and allow to cool. Once cool, the skin should peel right off. Next, slowly bring milk up to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the grits a little at a time to avoid clumps. Add in the sweet potato and break it up with your whisk. Be careful, hot grits tend to bubble like lava. Use an oven mitt to stir your grits just to be safe. Add the salt, pepper, and butter then lower the heat to medium low. Grits take between 10-20 minutes to cook and become silky and supple. This all depends on the corn and how coarse the grind. Taste them after 10 minutes to see if they are done. Sir occasionally. Use stock or water to achieve desired consistency.

Maple Mushrooms

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (sliced)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, canola oil, black pepper, mustard, soy sauce, and liquid smoke. Toss in the sliced mushrooms and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Drain the marinade off off the mushrooms and arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown and appear dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool. These are great on this dish but can be used in salads or on a vegetarian BLT.

Parsley + Tomato Topping
1 cup diced tomato (1 medium)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup minced shallot

Mix tomato, sugar, salt, pepper, parsley, and shallot together in a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.


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  2. Okay! Here are my notes...

    I would move the entire first section (about the egg) to the end. Everything else is finished and ready to go when you need to fry the eggs, so that's why I'd do that.

    Any reason you've specified 2% milk? I used 1 c whole milk and 1 cup water (because that's what I had on hand) and it worked out fine. I did not thin with water or stock. At the end, I think you should make note of how long it takes to cook the grits to "desired consistency" because some people have never eaten grits. I suggest "5-6 minutes or until desired consistency." A note that the grits pop at first might be nice to include, too. I keep a screen on hand. Another tip would be to stir in while wearing oven mitts.

    As for the mushrooms, it might be nice to add a note that you can prep and marinate the mushrooms while the sweet potato is cooking. Also, why crimini mushrooms? I used baby bellas because that's what I had. Also, mushrooms often come pre-sliced in 8 oz. containers, so maybe change that to "8-10 ounces mushrooms".

    I put the fried egg on my husband's portion and he really enjoyed it. I skipped the egg and skipped the tomato topping on both and we still really liked it. The grits were a tad shallow on their own, which surprised me, but went really well with the mushrooms. I'd say this was easy to make, but I did have a lot to clean up afterward! :)