Crunchy Cakes from Chevre Grits, with Mushroom Ragu

I had these yummy cakes for lunch yesterday at Amical in Traverse City — scrumptious! I have cobbled together the best approximation of the ingredients and instructions while I wait and hope for Chef Al Schmitt to send me the real recipe. The photo is straight from my plate at the restaurant. Perfection!


I think crunchy-creamy is my favorite contrast!


Creamy Chevre Grits Cakes


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup quick-cooking hominy grits (3 ounces)
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 ounces of fresh goat cheese (chevre)
Chopped fresh thyme and dill (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Bring broth, 2 tablespoons butter, and garlic to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits and return mixture to boil, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until grits are thick and almost all broth is absorbed, whisking frequently, about 8 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup cream and simmer 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Whisk in remaining 1/4 cup cream and  and simmer until very thick, stirring often, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in fresh goat cheese, dill and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared dish. Bake until cheese softens, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and slice contents into 4 squares, then cut each square diagonally into triangles. Lift each triangle from the pan with a spatula and place it in a preheated pan coated generously with olive oil and heated to medium high heat. Fry for 2 -3 min on each side until you achieve a golden crusty surface on each side. Keep any already browned triangles in a warm oven until ready to serve.

If you’d like these cakes for breakfast, eliminate the garlic and herbs, and top them with maple syrup or jam!

Mario Batali’s Mushroom Ragu Sauce


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
12 ounces porcini mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup Basic Tomato Sauce (fresh chopped tomatoes added in, if available)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds Mario Batali’s Fresh Tagliatelle


In a 10- to 12-inch saute pan, heat olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add onion; cook until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until they release their water and it evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine, tomato sauce, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium; cook until the consistency of a thick sauce, about 5 minutes.


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