Can a bite-sized fried recipe really be the snack of your dreams? As Kardea Brown proves time and time again with her mouth-watering comfort food on Delicious Miss Brown, the answer is yes with a capital Y. Ready in 45 minutes, these crispy balls have all the goods thanks to the combo of ham, cheese, paprika, breadcrumbs and leftover cooked grits. It’s the afternoon snack we’ve all been waiting for.
Fill a large Dutch oven two-thirds full with oil and heat over medium-high heat to 360°F.
Add 2 Tbps oil to a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook just until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add the grits and cheese to the bowl and stir until combined. Using wet hands, scoop ¼ cup of the grit mixture, roll it into a ball and place on a platter or large plate. Repeat until all the grit mixture is used.
Whisk together the flour, paprika and cayenne in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, add the eggs. Add the panko to another separate shallow bowl. Dip each grit ball into the flour mixture and shake to remove any excess before dipping into the eggs and then into the panko, spinning to coat completely.
Add the grit balls to the Dutch oven in batches, frying until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a sheet pan lined with a wire rack and immediately sprinkle with salt.