I’m a huge fan of Clover Food Lab‘s cheesy grits with egg, which they unfortunately took off the menu a while back. They put it back on the menu recently, but during the long gap I figured out how to make a decent approximation of it myself. I posted my detailed recipe on Twitter, but that thread’s gone because I’ve deleted all my tweets for reasons which should be obvious to anyone who’s paying attention. Before doing that I archived them at archive.org, where you can see the thread, but I’m reposting it here to make it more accessible and also to improve one thing (I wasn’t boiling the egg long enough).
Gather around, for I am about to share the best thing I have accomplished during this pandemic: perfecting my at-home replica of Clover Fod Lab’s late, lamented cheesy grits with egg breakfast!
After Clover made the tragic decision to stop serving cheesy grits with egg, they were kind enough to share their recipe with me in a DM, but there was a problem: it was an industrial recipe, suitable for large batches in their kitchen, not breakfast at home.
Also, Clover’s recipe did not explain how to prepare the perfect soft-boiled egg that is an essential part of cheesy grits with egg. After many failed attempts, I can reproduce both the cheesy grits and the egg to a satisfying degree, and I’m here to tell you how.
First, get yourself some 5-minute grits. You can use the 20-minute grits, but with 5-minute grits you can be eating a perfect bowl of cheesy grits with egg ten minutes after you start cooking. Who wants to spend 25 minutes cooking breakfast when you can do it in 10? (Full disclosure: there’s no getting around the fact that classic grits cooked for much longer are better. Also, Clover actually uses samp, which are slightly coarser than grits and take at least an hour too cook. I think my recipe is more than good enough for the time it takes to prepare, but your mileage may vary.)
In one pot, put enough water to cover the egg and set it to boil. In the other pot, put 1 cup of water and set it to boil.
Measure out 1/4 cup of grits and pour it into the grits pot. You don’t have to wait for the water to boil first. Add a few shakes of salt and pepper.
While the water is boiling, grate 2 oz. of sharp cheddar. If you don’t have a scale and don’t feel like estimating, that’s about 1/2 cup of packed, grated cheese.
When the egg pot boils, lower the egg gently into the boiling water with a spoon, cover the pot, and set a timer for 6 minutes.
If you cook the egg for much less than 6, it’ll fall apart when you try to peel it. Much more than 6, and it’ll be too cooked for your breakfast to be as spectacular as it should. Don’t screw up the egg, it’s important.
When the other pot boils, turn down the heat as low as you can (I hope you have a gas or induction stove!), and cover the pot.
Stir the grits about once per minute while you’re waiting for the egg timer to go off. You can use the spoon you used to lower the egg into the water. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
When the egg timer goes off, turn off its burner, carry the pot over to the sink, pour out as much of the hot water as you can without pouring out the egg, and fill the pot with cold water to stop the egg from cooking any further.
While giving the egg a moment to compose itself, stir the grits again, pour the cheese into the grits, and cover the pot again.
Remove the egg from the water, tap it gently on the counter all around to create lots of cracks, turn on a trickle of water from your faucet, and peel the egg under the trickle of water. Make sure to remove the membrane under the shell so you get a nice shiny egg.
Turn off the faucet and put the egg in a bowl in preparation for being immersed in delicious cheesy grits.
Stir the grits (use the same spoon!) until it is all melted and the grits are evenly colored.
Turn off the heat. Pour the grits into a bowl, using the spoon or a rubber scraper to scrape the pot, because you’re going to want every last bit of them. Sit down at the table and eat your breakfast (same spoon!).
And there you have it, cheesy grits with egg prepared in 10 minutes in the comfort of your own home. Share and enjoy!