Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2012 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Variation: 1/2 recipe - Bake in an 8 x 8-inch pan
This is a savory custard casserole breakfast dish named Grittata, created by self-taught bakers Ellen and Dan Einstein who own and operate Sweet 16th in East Nashville. The bottom is made of cheesy grits topped with vegetables and a light custard, perfect for a crowd, that can be made ahead of time and then reheated right before serving.
I recently attended a party at Saveur Magazine's Test Kitchen, hosted by Rock Rodgers to celebrate his newest book, William-Sonoma's Breakfast Comforts. They cooked several recipes from the book. One of the show-stoppers was this recipe, which I thought I'd share with you, adapted by me posted with permission of Rick. After tasting this fabulous and versatile dish, I figured it could be served any time of day, and would make a fabulous light supper meal, served outdoors with a chilled salad, and a cold glass of white wine.
CUSTARD RECIPE HELP
*NOTE: optional. After tasting this recipe, I realized that it could be made in a wide variety of flavors just by varying the items I have starred (*) with something else that is flavorful, such as cooked sausage or chopped ham, salsa, drained corn or capers, chopped pitted olives or pimentos, or left-overs. If you omit the sun-dried tomatoes with oil, add in 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, when cooking any vegetables.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 quart water
1 cup heavy cream
20 cloves garlic, minced*
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper or to taste
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking grits; can substitute with polenta
2 1/2 cups shredded aged provolone or gruyere cheese; divided
12 large eggs
2 cups thinly sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, undrained*
24 green onions, white and green parts, chopped*
1 large portobello mushroom, cap and stem trimmed and chopped*
1/4 cup whole milk
1. Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set both aside.
2. In a heavy-bottomed, large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the water, cream, garlic, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Gradually whisk in the grits.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking frequently, until thick and creamy, about 6 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Whisk in 1 cup of the cheese. Set aside.
4. In a bowl, whisk 4 of the eggs. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of the cooked grits / cheese mixture.
Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cooked grits / cheese mixture, and whisk.
Return to medium-low heat, and whisk until lightly thickened, about 1 minute more.
5. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Place the dish on a prepared baking sheet.
Bake about 12 minutes until the grits feel set when lightly pressed with your fingertips. Remove from the oven when done.
6. Meanwhile, place the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil in a large frying pan. Cook over medium heat until the oil is heated, about 1 minute.
Add the green onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, just until the green onions are wilted and tender, about 6 minutes.
Spread the green onion mixture evenly over the baked grits.
7. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 8 eggs and the milk. Pour slowly and evenly over the vegetables / baked grits in the baking pan.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. The dish will be very full.
8. Bake about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven on its rimmed baking sheet and let stand for 10 minutes.
Cut into portions and serve hot.
The dish can be made ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat, covered with foil, in a 350 degree F oven until heated through, about 40 minutes.
The recipe's ingredient amounts can be cut in half and easily baked in an 8-inch square baking pan. Keep the oven temperature the same. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.