"Fried" and "Grits" are two words that every true Southern cook uses regularly. Combine them, and you get a Southern version of New England's "Fried Cornmeal Mush" that brunch guests will love. Or, start them in the morning from leftover breakfast grits and serve them for supper. Either way, cooking them in bacon grease is traditional and imparts a wonderful flavor. But butter works well, too!
My daughter had a great idea for using these as appetizers. Cut them into 2" squares or rounds, fry 'em up, and top with a teaspoon of gravy and a shrimp, and pop under the broiler. Yumm!
If you are starting from scratch, stir uncooked grits slowly into the boiling salted water over medium heat. Simmer grits 4-5 minutes until thickened.
Stir in the grated cheese until well blended and grits are uniform in color.
Spoon the grits into a greased square cake pan and smooth the top so it's all even. (If you are using leftover cheese grits, just press them flat into the cake pan.) Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
When grits are solid and cold, press a paper towel over the top to soak up any condensation. Cut into 9 to 12 squares.
Fry the squares in two to three batches. Heat about a third of the bacon grease or butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat (cast iron works best). Do not get the pan too hot. Also, use a spatter screen, because bacon grease really pops! Add more bacon grease for each batch.
Fry the squares of grits for about 5 to 6 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Flip over carefully to fry the other side. Remove to a napkin-lined serving plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.