Corn is eaten all over the world, but there is something special about how corn is prepared in the South. Grits have long been a staple there and these grit fritters are a wonderful take on the dish. When fried up, they are delicate and flavorful on the inside, with the crunch and substance of a hush puppy on the outside.
What takes these fritters to the next level is the addition of chopped ham and green onion. It’s a mouthwatering combination that utilizes some of the familiar flavors of BBQs and picnics, but in a format that’s very moreish – as in you will definitely want more of these little bites of heaven!
To make these fritters you start by making up a batch of grits using milk, water, and grits. Then you add in even more flavor by mixing in salt, pepper, butter, and cheese, diced ham, and green onions to the grits.
The mixture needs to sit for 3 hours or overnight so that the mix can cool completely. Don’t skip this step! When it’s time to fry them up scoop out a heaping spoonful of the batter and roll it in your hands to create a ball about 2 inches across.
Then dip them in egg and roll in panko breadcrumbs to coat. This step really adds a lot of crispy flavor to the fritters. Then it’s time to fry them, making sure they turn an enticing dark golden color for the best end result.
These indulgent fritters, with a crusty outside and melty inside, are excellent served with some BBQ sauce to dip into or even drizzled over the top of individual servings. It’s grits like you’ve never had them before, but they might just become a family favorite.
Grit Fritters With Ham
makes 24 fritters; 4 hours prep, 40 minutes cook time, 3 hours 20 minutes inactive
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup yellow grits
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup diced country ham
- 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
- Canola oil for frying
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Combine 2 cups milk and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium to medium-high heat, but do not scorch. Add grits and cook for 20 minutes on low, stirring often.
- Remove from heat and whisk in salt, pepper, butter, and cheese. Fold in diced ham and green onions.
- Transfer grits mixture to a casserole dish and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (and up to overnight).
- When ready to fry the fritters, heat 3 inches of canola oil to 350˚. Mix teaspoon of water with eggs and whisk well. Pour breadcrumbs into a separate bowl.
- Using your hands, roll spoonfuls of the cooled grits into balls about 2 inches across. Dip fritters one at a time first into egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs before frying.
- Fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per small batch. Set aside to drain on paper towels before serving.
Recipe adapted from The Splendid Table.