Cheesy Fried Grits
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking sheet with the butter and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Slowly add the grits, salt and pepper, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat, add the cheese, green onions, and garlic, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Turn out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and using an offset cake spreader or rubber spatula, spread evenly across the bottom. Refrigerate until completely cooked and firm, at least 1 hour, longer is better. Cut the grits into squares and refrigerate until ready to fry.
In a large, heavy skillet or saute pan, heat 1/2 cup of the oil to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour and Essence in a shallow dish. Combine the eggs and milk in another show dish, whisking to combine.
Dredge the squares in the seasoned flour, dip into eggwash, and then back into the flour, 1 at a time. Fry in batches, turning, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more oil as necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Adapted from "New New Orleans Cooking" by Emeril Lagassee