Mama Steph's Grits with Summer Vegetable Sauté
2/3 cup olive or canola oil
1 unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1? dice
3 to 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or substitute one 14oz. can of diced tomatoes)
1 cup of sliced fresh button or baby bella mushrooms
2 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 TBS fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup dry white wine, or vegetable stock
Fresh parmesan cheese, shaved
Place oil in a large skillet. Heat over medium heat.
When hot enough to cause a drop of water sizzle when dropped in, add the diced eggplant.
Sauté for about 15 minutes, until the eggplant is reduced by about half and nicely browned. (don't allow to scorch; add a bit more oil if needed)
Add the tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste and oregano, stirring in.
Add the wine or broth, and then the sliced mushrooms.
Stir, adding a bit more broth if it seems too dry (don't allow it to scorch).
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stirring in well. Taste, and add more salt if you would like, being careful not to oversalt.
When the mushrooms have reduced and turned caramel in color, serve the sautéed vegetables over hot grits, and top with shaved parmesan cheese.
For the grits:
2 cups water
1 cup half & half
1 cup quick grits
1 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Place water and half & half in a large saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil.
Quickly add salt and grits to the saucepan, stirring in briskly with a wire whisk.
Lower heat to low-medium; add red pepper flakes, and then cover.
Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to allow to scorch.
Remove from heat. Taste for saltiness; if needed, add a tad more.
In center of a shallow bowl, place a healthy serving of the grits (about 2/3 of a cup).
Top with a large spoonful of the sautéed vegetables, and then shave (using a vegetable peeler or the large horizontal blades on the side of your box grater) Parmesan cheese over the top of the beautiful dish.
Freshly ground pepper over the top is a lovely addition, as well.
Tip: if you have no grits on hand, you could substitute polenta, pasta, or even rice. The sauteed veggies would pair well with any of them.