Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gorgonzola Grit Cakes

In a post a few weeks ago, I talked about the steps involved in getting recipes to a point where they pass the test and move onto the tasting round (which determines if they even make it into the book). With the more complicated ones, you sometimes have to try four or five times before reaching to a point where you are ready to show them off to the world…or in my case, my lovely friends who constantly volunteer as tasters.

In addition to being on the tasting team, some of my crew has taken on bigger tasks. Because she likes to help and wants me to finish this book before I’m old and grey, my dear friend, LF, took on the challenge of testing a recipe for Gorgonzola Grit Cakes last weekend.

This recipe was given to me by a co-worker who hadn’t tried it yet, but had it at this quaint little restaurant in Alabama and scoured the Internet to find it. I should’ve walked away at “haven’t tried it yet” because those are always the ones that take multiple tries before getting it right.

So here is a glimpse at the process. This is the recipe as I gave it to LF:

Gorgonzola Grit Cakes
Serves 6
3 cups water
1 cup stone-ground grits
1 teaspoon salt
3 oz. gorgonzola, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
Flour for dredging
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and grits and lower heat. Cook until thick, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in egg and gorgonzola, stirring until cheese is melted and well combined.

Pour grits into 8" cake pan (round is better). Cool in pan and then refrigerate uncovered until completely set, at least an hour after cool.

With a 2-1/2" round cutter, carefully cut grits into 6 rounds and remove from pan. Dredge rounds in flour.

Heat oil in large skillet until hot. Pan-fry grit cakes until golden, about 2 minutes each side. Serve immediately.

NOTE: Make sure that the oil is hot enough before frying or the grits will begin to fall apart before browning.

And here is her feedback:

• Overall, I thought the flavor was great
• It would have been helpful to have a list of items needed (e.g. 8" cakepan, 2 1/2" round cutter) at the outset of the recipe. I had to read through to determine what I needed as I was making the recipe. I had neither, so I had to improvise which worked out fine.
• I would have liked to have known how long the recipe took from start to finish and if it was easy, medium or hard to make.
• It probably took me 1 1/2 hours total for the cook/chill/fry time. I would classify it as an easy recipe.
• It yielded 10 cakes, not the 6 the recipe states.
• My grits did not set after the hour in the fridge. They were hard to work with. Not sure if you can suggest longer fridge time or adding an ingredient to firm them up. They were hard to put in the frypan, flip and pull out.
• I left half of the batch in the fridge and fried them a few days later. They were a bit easier to work with, but still mushy.

So taking her feedback, I took this recipe into Round Two and made the following changes:

Gorgonzola Grit Cakes (Take Two)
• Cooked the grits for 25 minutes versus 15
• Added an extra egg and simmered the grits after adding the eggs and cheese an extra 5 minutes
• Poured the mixture into a square cake pan and sliced it into nine squares after letting it chill overnight
• Used 1/4 cup of olive oil to fry cakes, four minutes on each side

These changes were semi-successful, although I still didn't like the consistency of the final product. But they were tasty and would make a great addition to the Grits at Noon chapter of my book.

So, anyone up for taking a third stab or making some suggestions?

1 comment:

Erin said...

mmmm that sounds cheesy but complicated