Blackened Fish and grits recipe:
****This recipe needs to be cooked outside due to excessive smoke****
Almost any fish fillets will do, but we prefer to use stronger flavored or slightly oily fish. Catfish, bass, wiper/white bass/stripers, or many saltwater fish are all good, as is salmon. Fillet and rinse fish. Trim to serving size pieces, pat completely dry, and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. In the meantime, prepare grits.
Southern cheese grits: Place small saucepan over medium low heat. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. As it comes to temp, stir in ½ cup of stoneground grits, and 1 teaspoon each, garlic powder and onion powder. Then add about a tablespoon of homemade real bacon bits (skip the bits if you plan to use artificial store varieties!). Cover and let simmer over medium low, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Then stir in about 1/3 cup of cream, cover and continue to simmer over medium low until grits begin to thicken…about 5-8 minutes. Just before serving, stir in a tablespoon or so of crumbled Cotija cheese ( you can substitute many cheeses…we like the saltiness and texture of Cotija with this recipe). Reduce heat to as low as possible, cover, and let thicken to your desired consistency.
While the grits are finishing, place a Camp Chef 12” cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Heat the skillet until it is very hot (almost grey in appearance). Brush the fish fillets with melted or clarified butter and sprinkle a liberal coat of blackening seasoning evenly on top. Place seasoned side down on screaming hot skillet (be careful…it will smoke a lot if your pan is hot enough). Quickly brush the other side with butter and season as before. Let is sear (without touching it!) for about 2-3 minutes. Use a large spatula to carefully turn fish over, then allow to cook for 2-3 more minutes, depending on thickness. Remove from heat and check for doneness with a fork. Fillets over ½” thick may need an extra minute or two.
Place a scoop of the grits on the plate as a bed, then place a fillet directly over the top. Viola…blackened fish and grits!