Southern food is in, and grits are everywhere, displacing their fancy Euro-cousin polenta. Spotted: organic, yellow, and infused with goat’s milk whey at Ubuntu in Napa, California; “Garden Grits” at Portland, Oregon’s Screen Door restaurant with spinach, grilled tomatoes, onions, and provolone; made with blue corn at Jax Fish House in Boulder, Colorado, and served with lamb rack, tomato confit, and mint pistou; and pan-fried into a cake and served with root beer-braised short ribs at La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, Lousiana.

Chef tip: “You definitely get a creamier result with the stone-ground grits [than the instant kind], because the long cooking and continuous stirring helps release more starch,” says Justin Devillier, the chef at La Petite Grocery. Falls Mill and Anson Mills are two brands that are popular with chefs.

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