1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in salt, pepper, and grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5-6 minutes or until grits are thick and fully cooked, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons butter and blue cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour grits into an 11 x 7 inch baking dish that has been lined with plastic wrap. Cover and chill overnight.
2. Cut chilled grits into 24 squares. Place flour in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs and place in shallow dish. Working with one square at a time, coat grits cakes in flour. Place in beaten egg, coating completely. Return grits cake to flour, coating with flour.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half of grits cakes; cook about 2 minutes per side or until lightly golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat with remaining butter, oil, and grits cakes.
4. Stir together walnuts, thyme, fig preserves, pinch of salt, and pinch of pepper in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave 30-60 seconds or until preserves are melted. Spoon fig mixture evenly onto each grit cake.
5. Top grit cakes with a drizzle of balsamic and sprinkle with additonal thyme leaves.
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