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Cheesy Grit Fritters

All Photos: Ramona King

Cheesy Grit Fritters with Hot Pepper Jelly


Turn your grits into fritters and your Vidalias into dip in these inspired holiday appetizer recipes

Artichoke dip and cheese and crackers are all well and good, but when you're taking the time to cook up your best Thanksgiving feast, why skimp on the appetizers? Do as we do and take some inspiration from classic Southern dishes and ingredients when you're planning your app spread.

Here are three inspired appetizer recipes to get you started.

Cheesy Grit Fritters with Hot Pepper Jelly
Cheese grits and hot pepper jelly? Sign us up. Gooey, molten, pull-apart fritters? Even better. This decadent and delicious appetizer is a perfect way to use up those grits you have leftover from a big family breakfast. Simple mold the grits around grated cheese, bread the grit balls in bread crumbs, fry and serve piping hot. Feel free to serve the fritters alongside store-bought pepper jelly, or level up your game with our homemade recipe.
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Bacon-Wrapped, Andouille-Stuffed Date with Pecan Romesco Sauce
While this dish has its roots as a Spanish tapa, its ingredients — bacon, andouille, pecans — are purely Southern. And even though it has a long name, this dish can be assembled almost entirely ahead of time. Puree the sauce even up to a week before serving, and assemble the dates the day or morning before the big day. Pop the dates in oven as guests arrive, and the inticing fragrance of roasting bacon will draw them straight to the table.
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Vidalia Onion Dip
Potato chips with French onion dip is one of the classic party snacks of all time. Using Southern Vidalia sweet onions makes the dip even better. And, like the date recipe above, you can make this dip entirely in advance. Make sure to take the time to deeply caramelize the onions so that their sweetness will carry through the entire dish, and sprinkle the whole thing with chives right before serving for a pop of color.
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Kate Williams is the former editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She was also the on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She's worked in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.