Mrs. Ralph Izard's Awendaw

In honor of all those company-perfect casseroles found in community cookbooks, we were tempted to include a recipe for chicken tetrazzini, rumored (somewhat falsely) to have been created in Charleston for the great soprano Luisa Tetrazzini. We opted instead for Mrs. Izard's Awendaw, a creamy, richly flavored fusion of grits and spoonbread with a soufflé-like texture. It's astoundingly good, any time of day, with everything from panfried breakfast sausage to molasses grilled pork tenderloin. So good and versatile, in fact, that our Test Kitchen developed three irresistible twists. From Charleston Receipts.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Recipe from Southern Living

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked regular grits
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup plain white cornmeal

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Bring 1 tsp. salt and 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking often, 15 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Remove grits from heat, and whisk in butter. Whisk about one-fourth of hot grits mixture into eggs; whisk egg mixture into remaining hot grits mixture. Gradually whisk in milk. Whisk in cornmeal and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Pour grits mixture into a lightly greased 2 1/2-qt. baking dish.
  3. Bake at 375° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown and set.
  4. Cheese Awendaw: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded smoked Gouda cheese and 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper after cornmeal.
  5. Garlic-and-Herb Awendaw: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese; 1/4 cup each finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, basil, and chives; 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon; 3 garlic cloves, pressed; and 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper after cornmeal.
  6. Fresh Corn Awendaw: Cut kernels from fresh ears of corn to equal 2 cups, and place in a bowl. Using the dull side of a knife blade, scrape milk and remaining pulp from cobs into bowl. Prepare recipe as directed, increasing salt to 1 tsp. in Step 2 and stirring in corn kernels after cornmeal.
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