White Cheddar Grits with Grilled Ramps
Kosher salt, to taste
1 1⁄4 cups quick-cooking grits
12 oz. white cheddar, grated
1⁄2 cup half-and-half
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
4 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste with 1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz. ramps, trimmed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 bay leaf
Bring 5 cups salted water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in grits; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar, half-and-half, butter, cayenne, garlic paste, and season with salt and pepper. Pour grits onto a serving platter.
Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill ramps in 2 batches until leaves are wilted and ramps are tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Place over grits, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.