For the grits: In a large heavy saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Stirring with a wooden spoon, slowly add the grits in a slow, steady stream. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmigiano. Stir in white pepper to taste. Stir in the egg.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter eight to ten 4- to 6-ounce ramekins.
Divide the grits among the buttered ramekins and place the ramekins in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the tops are crusty and begin to brown, about 20 minutes longer.
For the Parmesan sauce: In a medium sauté pan, combine the wine, vinegar, shallots, bay leaf, chile pepper and diced ham and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat and simmer until only 1 tablespoon of liquid remains. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Whisk in the butter bit by bit, adding a new piece as the previous one is incorporated. Strain the sauce into a saucepan. Add the Parmigiano. Season the sauce with lemon juice, hot pepper sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
For the mushrooms and ham: Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the julienned ham, mushrooms and shallot and cook until the mushrooms are barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
To serve, unmold the grits onto plates and turn browned side up. Ladle a little Parmesan sauce around the grits and top with the ham and mushrooms. Garnish with thyme leaves.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.