Article by: Charles W. Kerber, MD
Finding good food in a strange city is often chancy at best, but every once in a while, one comes across a hidden jewel. And in Tampa, Florida this week, I got lucky.
Tucked away between the condos on Harbour Island, I came across Café DuFrain (executive chef Ferrell Alvarez).
You might call the restaurant intimate – or small. Either works; they don’t mind, as long as you enjoy yourself. But importantly, the service is impeccable, and the food fresh and carefully prepared, especially the locally caught seafood.
Curious, I tried their Anson Mills corn pudding.
But it turns out that their corn pudding is in fact grits, and, well, grits is grits, right? Or so I thought. Having lived in the South for a few years while serving in the Marines, I thought I had come to know grits. But Chef Brian Lampe’s corn pudding was in a class by itself.
I asked Chef for the recipe, and he kindly obliged:
Heavy cream, three quarts
Milk – three quarts
Sugar – 1.75 cups.
Salt and white pepper to taste
Cut down to family size, that’s
Grits, Anson Mills – 1 cup
Cream – 1.5 cup
Milk – 1.5 cup
Sugar – 1/8 cup (if you have diabetes, you can substitute sucralose. In a blind tasting, I have not been able to tell the difference.)
Salt, one half teaspoon
White Pepper, one quarter teaspoon
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Taste frequently for consistency, and add salt and pepper when finished cooking.
Chef Lampe stress that there is a variation in cooking time depending upon outside temperatures. In the summer, it takes him, with frequent stirring, about two hours to cook to appropriate consistency. In the winter, about 3 1/2 hours, tasting all the while. He also warned me not to try anybody’s grits other than Anson Mills. Maybe time is important, as is the source of your grits, but what I found was that his attention to detail – his loving care – made the difference: and that made his corn pudding a most marvelous accompaniment.
Anson Mills is little known to us damYankees, but it seems that everybody in the South knows about them. Check out their website (Ansonmills.com). They grind their white corn carefully. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. With them, or with Chef Lampe’s pudding.
Cover photo courtesy of: Cage Dufrain
I LOVE YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE GALAXY FOR PUBLISHING THIS RECIPE!!!! This is my absolute favorite dish and the heartbreak I felt when Chef Ferrell left to open his own restaurant devastated me! I am beyond ecstatic to have this and to make it tonight. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!