When Life Leaves You Without Grits

All this happened before, and it will all happen again.

Poised with a list in hand and as focused as a camera, I whipped through the automatic doors to my neighborhood grocery store. Starting with the produce, I found myself gapping like a guppy at the pears and hoarded all of the shallots I could fit into my basket. An angel that must have fallen from heaven generously offered me a cup full of freeze-dried strawberries. Who knew?? They were lovely, tangy and I felt like an astronaut eating them.  I strolled through the deli section, sampled a little Virginia ham, and bought a pound! Oh, my shopping was going like gangbusters. But you don’t want to hear about a perfect shopping trip, do you?


It was in my moment of pure enthusiasm when I realized I was missing an essential ingredient for my supper, grits for the grits soufflé. I circled around the cereal, floundered around the flour, and ended up ogling inanely at almond butter for no reason whatsoever. Grits rained on my parade, or the lack of grits really. My head began to spin. I stared hopelessly at the lucky people passing me by, racing to the checkout line. In a desperate panic, I looked down at my basket. Life handed me ham, shallots and pears. Roasted pears could be for dessert, check. And for dinner, PIZZA. When in doubt, pizza. If ever there was an answer to question that’s questionable, pizza. Sautéed shallots drowning in hot butter seemed a lovely choice for a topping and paired well with the ham. A sprinkling of thyme for good measure should do the trick.

The results were better than I ever imagined. Thyme, ham and shallots are best friends in my book. And I am confident to say that no one even missed the grits.

Recipe: Makes 4 Individual Pizzas

4 pieces of thawed Basic Pizza Dough 

1 cup of favorite homemade or jarred red sauce

Sautéed Shallots (recipe below)

¼ pound of thinly sliced ham

½ cup of shredded mozzarella

Olive oil and cracked black pepper (to dress)

Fresh thyme leaves (garnish)

Preheat oven to 500o with a baking sheet or pizza stone preheating in the oven as well.

Roll out rounds of dough thinly onto a piece of foil lightly dusted with flour. Pour a few tablespoons of red sauce onto the dough. Scatter ¼ of the shallot mixture onto the sauce. Hand-tear ham and scatter on top and finish with mozzarella. Place the prepared pizza in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Dress each baked pizza with a drizzle of olive oil, cracked black pepper and thyme leaves. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough. Enjoy!

For the sautéed shallots:

2 tablespoons of butter

2 shallots, sliced

2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves (or a dash of dried thyme)

¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add shallots, thyme and seasonings to the pan. Sauté shallots until softened but not browned. Set aside.