Georgia native Nicole A. Taylor might have left the South, but the Brooklynite keeps the culinary spirit of her childhood alive through her podcast “Hot Grease” that airs on the Heritage Radio network.
In a few weeks, she’ll launch her debut cookbook, “The Up South Cookbook” (Countryman Press, $26.95), which covers regional foodways through Taylor’s distinct lens of race, gender and history. These grits waffles are her homage to chicken and waffles, a salty and sweet classic that actually started in Harlem in the 1930s.
3 slices uncooked bacon
2 tsp. brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup water
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup stone-ground grits
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons (melted) to coat waffle iron
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup fine cornmeal
3/4 cup corn, fresh (about 1 ear)
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of bacon with brown sugar. Line a jelly roll or baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place wire rack on top, put bacon on rack. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside. Crumble bacon (you should have about 1/4 cup).
Place water, stock and salt in heavy medium saucepan with a lid over high heat. Bring to a boil. Very slowly, sprinkle grits into boiling water. Cover grits, reduce to low heat, and stir frequently. The grits should be creamy, about 20 minutes into cooking. Add 2 tablespoons of unmelted butter and black pepper. Remove from heat. Stir in cornmeal, corn, red pepper, bacon, baking powder and ginger. Fold in buttermilk and beaten eggs.
The mixture should fall off the spoon with a shake. Set aside. Using a pastry brush, spread melted butter on the waffle iron. Cook waffles on high heat (refer to waffle iron instructions regarding heat monitoring). Refrain from opening the waffle iron too prematurely. The cooking time for this grit waffle using the Nordic Ware stovetop waffle iron is about 5 minutes. The waffles should be golden brown and with a slight bounce-back texture. Serves 8.
— From “The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen” by Nicole A. Taylor (Countryman Press, $26.95)