A Thought For Food » where ideas are brought to simmer

Cheese Grits with Fiddleheads and Ramps in Brown Butter

I’ve been on the road a lot recently.  Well, not just the road, in the air as well.  It makes writing a bit challenging, so I usually get most of my posts down on my iPhone. Whenever I mention this to people, they always shake their heads… they can’t imagine typing that much with their thumbs. I find it freeing though. Grammar and spelling become less important and I’m able to focus on my thoughts. I’m not a natural writer and often struggle to find the words to convey what I’m feeling. But this little keyboard allows me to get it out without over-thinking it.

As I mentioned, I’ve been traveling a lot these last few weeks. It started at the end of April with a whirlwind trip out to Los Angeles by way of New Jersey. After a long weekend out west for the Big Traveling Potluck, I returned to my parents house to help out as my mom recovered from an operation.  It was nice to be there… to be with my family and the daily routine of things, even though it was obviously a very hard time for my mother.

When I returned to Boston, things didn’t slow down. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some great projects that have kept me pretty busy.  There were a few slow days this last week where I got to create some recipes that have been stewing in my brain for a bit.  One was this bowl of grits topped with two of my favorite seasonal ingredients: fiddlehead ferns and ramps.  I kept the dish fairly rustic.  My goal was to create a comforting dinner for a rainy spring night that would stick to your ribs a little.  With a bit of brown butter and cheese mixed into the grits, I would call this one a huge success.

Now my thumbs are tired. I’m going to give them a little rest.


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  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarMay 15, 2013 - 7:34 am

    Heavens, this sounds perfect! I need to make fiddleheads before they become out of season and this is the perfect recipe!ReplyCancel

  • JoanneMay 15, 2013 - 7:43 am

    I can barely blog via my iPad let alone a phone! I’m impressed. And grateful because to be without your posts would be such a sad thing! I haven’t yet gotten to enjoy fiddleheads this season but atop a big bowl of grits…seems kinda like the perfect way.ReplyCancel

  • JeanetteMay 15, 2013 - 9:03 am

    I’ve yet to try ramps, but I do look forward to fiddleheads every Spring. Grits seem to be very popular – love the way you served it as a bed for this dish.ReplyCancel

  • Bev @ Bev CooksMay 15, 2013 - 9:06 am

    I have actually NEVER eaten a fiddlehead and aaaaaaaaaaalways wanted to. Plus I just like to say fiddlehead. You’re not surprised.ReplyCancel

  • carrianMay 15, 2013 - 9:22 am

    “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it”. Oh gosh, I just did that.ReplyCancel

  • Sommer @ ASpicyPerspectiveMay 15, 2013 - 10:07 am

    Great recipe! The fiddleheads are just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie RussellMay 15, 2013 - 11:20 am

    I could seriously do some major damage to a bowl of grits or polenta. So yummy and satisfying! Speaking of satisfying, I sort of like doing work on my iPhone too. It forces me to be concise and to-the-point and I realize I get a lot more e-mails done that way without putzing around. And it’s a fun challenge to press all the letters correctly. 😉ReplyCancel

  • marlaMay 15, 2013 - 12:35 pm

    Awesome that you could take care of your mom. Bet that means the world to her!! :) Fiddleheads ~ I’ve never had ’em now I’m obsessed with trying them. Lovely recipe!ReplyCancel

  • EileenMay 15, 2013 - 2:24 pm

    Most northeastern dish ever! We can’t get either fiddleheads or ramps here in CA–I’m so jealous. :)ReplyCancel

  • I’ve never heard of fiddleheads before. Glad to learn new stuff every day. And gotta try these tasty-looking grits, too.ReplyCancel

  • dixya| Food, Pleasure, and HealthMay 15, 2013 - 2:36 pm

    im very intrigued by both the ingredients used in this recipe..I made similar bowl of heaven using polenta, shrimp & sundried tomatoes. hope you will find some free time to relax soon :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelli @ The Corner KitchenMay 15, 2013 - 2:45 pm

    This looks like the most perfect sprintime comfort food!ReplyCancel

  • Andrew FrishmanMay 15, 2013 - 4:00 pm

    MMMnnn… I LOVES me some grits, especially when they’ve got ferns on top!

    Cada helecho empieza como un pequeñito cabeza de violinReplyCancel

  • Ronald HilbinkMay 15, 2013 - 4:08 pm


    This is an amazing combination of some of my favorite spring time greens. Definitely have to try your recipe. Thank you,ReplyCancel

  • Michael PaezMay 15, 2013 - 4:40 pm

    Looks gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Brandon @ Kitchen KonfidenceMay 15, 2013 - 5:09 pm

    Ohmygosh, YUM!! I’ve been obsessed recently with ramps, but I’ve yet to get my hands on some fiddleheads. Love the addition of brown butter too.ReplyCancel

  • merry jenniferMay 15, 2013 - 7:33 pm

    Well, you had me at grits.

    (ps – Hope your mom is doing okay!)ReplyCancel

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.May 15, 2013 - 7:42 pm

    so wonderful Brain!ReplyCancel

  • ashley - baker by natureMay 15, 2013 - 10:09 pm

    This is Spring food perfection! I want.ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.comMay 15, 2013 - 10:17 pm

    Omg. I’ve never had grits, fiddleheads or ramps for that matter. Looks so delish, Brian :)

    ps: Hope you mom is doing well.ReplyCancel

  • CarolynMay 16, 2013 - 7:53 am

    I have yet to try fiddleheads. I’ve seen them in all the grocery stores, and I’m tempted. Now I think I need to just go for it. Take your well deserved rest for those thumbs.ReplyCancel

  • Kevin @ Closet CookingMay 16, 2013 - 8:59 am

    What a great spring treat!ReplyCancel

  • TieghanMay 16, 2013 - 9:30 am

    What an awesome spring meal. I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jen @ My Kitchen AddictionMay 16, 2013 - 2:57 pm

    Confession – I have never tried grits. I’m terrified of grits for some strange reason. But, this dish totally makes me want to go for it. Our local farmer’s market opens up next week, and I think I remember seeing fiddleheads there last year, so I think I am going to pick some up and give it a try. That is, if I don’t chicken out on the grits in the meantime. :)ReplyCancel

  • StaceyMay 17, 2013 - 9:49 am

    Now I’m determined to find ramps and fiddleheads down here! If I can’t maybe I can still find them up in Boston in early June?? This looks SO good!ReplyCancel

  • MollyMay 17, 2013 - 9:49 am

    Ramps and Fiddleheads: Springtime in a bowl.ReplyCancel

  • Lora @cakeduchessMay 19, 2013 - 10:06 am

    I just love grits. I’ve never thought of pairing them with any thing but well, butter! And now you share this creative idea…love it. I hope your mom is feeling better and recuperating ok. xxReplyCancel

  • shelly (cookies and cups)May 19, 2013 - 7:13 pm

    Now, I can’t say that I have had fiddleheads or ramps. I know. BUT I have had grits and imagine that they can make any meal just about perfect! Love this!ReplyCancel

  • MonetMay 19, 2013 - 11:12 pm

    I can’t believe you can type on your phone either…I’m terrible. I am not a good text messenger, so I can imagine having to type more than a sentence! But then again, I’m close to home now, so I don’t have a reason to do so! These ramps and fiddleheads look delicious. I don’t eat grits often, but when I do I want them to be like this! Thank you for sharing, sweet friend!ReplyCancel

  • JamieMay 20, 2013 - 10:35 am

    1) I have never eaten fiddleheads nor have I eaten ramps.

    2) I only discovered grits recently – okay forget the spoonful of grits I was forced to taste at Girl Scout Camp (which may be why I didn’t taste them again until 2 years ago and in New Orleans. I have never cooked grits.

    3) I love when you write without thinking or trying too hard. It is natural and lovely and sweet. I always tell my students – one writes best when one writes from the heart.

    4) I am so intrigued by this dish.ReplyCancel

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the KitchenMay 20, 2013 - 11:58 pm

    Perfect timing, I just saw some fiddleheads and ramps the other day!ReplyCancel

  • Russell van KraayenburgMay 22, 2013 - 9:23 am

    Gorgeous dish! I love the way those curly thingies look. Yum.ReplyCancel

  • Ceci Rose DillonMay 22, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Where do you get fiddleheads? Did you have to go out and collect these?ReplyCancel

    • Brian @ A Thought For FoodMay 22, 2013 - 3:59 pm

      Hi Ceci! I actually found both at a local market and usually you can find them at Whole Foods here in the northeast. If you can’t find those, I’d recommend mushrooms and another kind of onion (or garlic scape would be good if you can get your hands on them).

      Thanks for your message!ReplyCancel

  • JeffMay 23, 2013 - 2:23 pm

    I really miss fiddleheads! They were one of my favourite veggies when I visited the East Coast, especially with a splash of vinegar. I’m really digging the grits addition, I imagine some great textures going on there! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • MelissaMay 29, 2013 - 6:00 pm

    Wow…made this today for lunch and it was AMAZING! Thanks so much for sharing it! What a perfect end-of-spring meal.ReplyCancel

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  • SarahJune 27, 2013 - 1:41 pm

    I made this with Melissa (comment above me), and it was awesome! We were just in the nick of time to grab the last of the fiddleheads and ramps!ReplyCancel

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  • A Thought For FoodMay 17, 2013 - 11:53 am

    Thank you Michael! And thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • A Thought For FoodMay 17, 2013 - 11:54 am

    HA! Yeah, I’m not sure how much I succeed with letter pressing. Usually I find some pretty ridiculous spelling errors. Thanks for your comment!ReplyCancel

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