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I’ve been feeling my southern lately and recently had a hankering for grits. There’s a restaurant in Watkinsville, GA called The Big Easy that has a delicious grits breakfast called a Zinger. A zinger is basically a bowl of grits topped with bacon, cheese and a fried egg. I generally add tomatoes and onions as well, so I decided to take a page out of The Big Easy’s book and put all that deliciousness into one dish.

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I started from the grits recipe in A New Turn in the South, Hugh Acheson’s cookbook, and then added lots of veggie goodness. And cheese. And bacon. And bacon grease. It all comes together to create a fabulous dish that is perfect for a big breakfast or brunch. Also, it is so good with a beer. So good. Because who doesn’t need a beer at brunch?

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Savory Breakfast Grits
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • ½ lb Bacon, cooked, 2 Tbsp bacon grease reserved
  • 1½ C Grits
  • 4½ C Water
  • 1½ C Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 1 Yellow or Sweet Onion, diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, diced
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 C Grape or Mini Tomatoes, sliced in half.
  • ¼ tsp ground Black Pepper
  • 1¼ C shredded White Cheddar, Manchego or Cordobes Cheese
  • 4 Eggs
Instructions
  1. Set the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the grits, water, milk, butter and 2 tsp salt to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Heat 1½ Tbsp of the reserved bacon fat in a skillet (preferably cast-iron) and saute the onions and jalapenos over medium-low heat until soft and lightly browned - about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the onions and jalapenos from the pan and replace them with the asparagus. Saute the asparagus until bright green and tender, but still somewhat crisp.
  5. Remove the asparagus from the skillet and add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes until they release their juices and soften.
  6. When the grits finish simmering, stir in the onions, jalapenos, ¾ of the asparagus, ¾ of the tomatoes, 1 C of cheese and the black pepper. Crumble the bacon and add ¾ of it to the grits.
  7. Grease a cast iron skillet or baking dish with the remaining ½ tsp bacon grease and pour the grits into the skillet or pan. Bake the grits in the 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
  8. At the end of the cooking time, make 4 depressions in the grits with a spoon and crack an egg into each depression. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the grits and eggs. Return the skillet or dish to the oven and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes - until the eggs have just barely set.
  9. Remove the skillet or pan from the oven, garnish with the reserved asparagus, tomatoes and bacon and enjoy!
 

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