At Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Christensen serves these crisp, cheddar-flavored bites with classic aioli and chow-chow, a Southern relish typically made with cabbage, red bell peppers, onions, and green tomatoes, spiced with mustard seeds and turmeric.
Heat the water to a boil in a large saucepot with the salt. Whisk in the grits and return to a boil. Stirring continuously, cook until the grits are well blended with the water, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook for about an hour, stirring every few minutes with the whisk. The grits are fully cooked when any bitter corn flavor is gone and their texture is creamy, tender, and very thick.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese using a heatproof spatula. Be sure to mix all of the cheese and grits evenly. Spread the mixture into a casserole dish, smoothing the top with the spatula. Refrigerate until firm and set. When ready to make the fries, slice the cold grits into the shape of “fries,” or long rectangular sections. Roll each piece in the cornmeal, coating all surfaces.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer or skillet to 350°F. Fry the grits pieces until crispy and golden brown. Serve promptly.
Recipe by Chef Ashley Christensen
Written by Emily Wallace
Photography by Nick Pironio