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Cheese Grits Nuggets

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Cheese Grits Nuggets

Cheese Grits Nuggets
Hirsheimer & Hamilton
Provided by:
total prep
If I walked into a bar that served these tasty nuggets as snacks, I might never leave. Luckily for my wallet, these little puppies (they’re similar to hush puppies but creamier and more intense) are easy and cheap to make at home. The idea for this appetizer/side dish/snack came from a Brooklyn restaurant called Peaches HotHouse, which specializes in Southern food. There the “grits fries” are served alongside fried chicken. I’ve added a lot of cheese to make them into a decadent yet homey finger food. Serve them for breakfast or dinner, with cocktails, or when you’re watching the game. These nuggets are great on their own but are even better when dipped in Souped-Up Mayo.

Reprinted with permission from The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food by Ian Knauer/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.


  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup grits
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeals
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in the grits, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Simmer the grits, whisking frequently, until they are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese and pour into the baking dish. Cover the surface with a layer of lightly oiled waxed paper, then cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan to 425°F.
  • Cut the grits into 32 rectangles (about 1 by 3 inches). Stir together the cornmeal, chili powder, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roll the rectangles in the cornmeal mixture, then fry them in batches, turning, and reheating the oil to 425°F before frying the next batch, until golden, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer the nuggets to paper towels to cool slightly, and serve.
  • Souped-Up Mayo: Stir together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, juice, paprika, salt, and pepper.