This fish and grits recipe is so darn good. Cheesy grits combine with some perfectly flaky pan-fried fish and then all of that deliciousness gets topped with a homemade tomato sauce that's to die for. Best of all though is the fact that it's so simple to put together. In fact, just around a handful of steps are all you have to follow to make it.
Table of Contents
Why You'll Love This Recipe
It's satisfying and filling. One of my favorite things about this dish is that it's a complete meal! There's no need to make a side dish. This fish with grits has three delicious elements that give you everything you need.
It's simple to make. There's really not much to making this recipe. You simply make the grits, fry the fish, prepare the tomato sauce, and serve. You can have it on the table for dinner in no time!
A Southern staple. Whenever I'm in the mood for some good old Southern comfort food, I make this recipe. It's a great dish to serve if you're hosting a dinner party since it comes out tasting like something you'd get at a restaurant. Everyone is sure to love it!
Ingredients You'll Need
- Fish fillets- I used pollock fillets since it's a mild, flaky white fish. Perfect for this dish! You can also use catfish, cod, or haddock.
- Tomatoes- a can of chopped tomatoes.
- Bell pepper- diced, I used a red bell pepper.
- Green onion- sliced thin, a mild onion flavor is the perfect compliment.
- Garlic- minced, brings a deep savory flavor everyone loves.
- Vegetable stock- used to make the tomato sauce.
- Lime juice- adds a refreshing brightness to the dish.
- Seasonings- salt and pepper to taste.
- Bay leaf- adds an herb flavor to the grits.
- Milk- I used whole milk for extra creamy grits.
- Grits- I used stone ground grits.
- Oil- Olive or other high-heat oil for frying.
- Butter- to saute the veggies.
- Parmesan cheese- adds a cheesy goodness to the grits. You can also use cheddar cheese if you prefer cheddar cheese grits.
How To Make Fish and Grits
Step 1: Prepare the liquid. First, add one cup of water, the milk, and the bay leaf to a large pot or saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Step 2: Cook the grits. Whisk the grits into the milk mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the grits begin to thicken. It will take about 5 minutes.
Then once thickened, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the grits are tender. You'll want to stir occasionally, and as you stir, scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. Add more water if needed if the mixture becomes too thick.
Step 3: Season the grits.
Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese. Season the grits with salt and pepper, discard the bay leaves, and cover the grits to keep them warm. Set aside for later.
Step 4: Cook the fish. Cut the pollock fillet into smaller pieces and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to the warm skillet. Add the fish fillets and cook for 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer the cooked fish to a dish, cover it, and set aside.
Step 5: Make the tomato sauce. In the same skillet, add the rest of the butter.
Then, add the diced red pepper, green onion, and chopped tomatoes.
Sauté everything for 5 minutes, and then add the minced garlic and the vegetable stock.
Season with the salt and black pepper to taste, and then cook for 5 minutes more. Give it a stir every minute or so.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy! Squeeze the lime juice into the sauce to brighten up the dish and bring some acidity to the sauce.
Portion out the warm grits evenly into 4 shallow bowls, top with the fish, and drizzle the tomato sauce over the fish.
Serve with lime wedges, and enjoy!
Tips To Make The Best Recipe
- Season the fish with creole seasoning if you want to make this a cajun fish and grits recipe.
- Frequently stir the grits while they're cooking! You really don't want them to stick to the bottom of your pan and burn.
- Make sure not to overcook the grits, either. They're done when they're tender and softened. Don't worry if they seem too thick, you can always thin them out with milk or water.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Fridge: Separate the fish from the grits before transferring them to their own airtight containers. The fish and sauce will keep for up to 3 days, and the grits will last up to 4 days.
Freezer: Again, separate the fish from the grits before storing. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring the grits and fish to freezer-safe airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer-safe bags. The fish will last for a month, and the grits will last for 3 months.
Reheating: To reheat, place the grits in a saucepan over low heat and stir frequently until they're to your desired temperature. You can add some milk or water to thin them out as they warm. For the fish, place it in a baking dish, sprinkle a little water over it, and cover it with tin foil. Bake it in the oven at 275°F for about 15 minutes. Then put the grits and fish with sauce together and enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of grits should I use?
This is really up to you and how much time you have!
I prefer stone ground grits for this recipe because they're a little heartier and stand up better to the added ingredients. If you're short on time, though, quick grits or instant grits will work just fine. You won't need them to cook as long, so it'll be more convenient if you're short on time.
What type of fish should I use?
A flaky white fish will work best since it has a mild flavor. Fish like cod, haddock, halibut, and pollock all work great. Some people prefer to use catfish, so you can do that too if you want.
What to serve with fish and grits?
More Southern Recipes
- Grit cakes
- Southern meatloaf
- Southern style pigs feet
- Southern fried potatoes and onions
- Sweet potato crunch casserole
- 1 ½ lb pollock fillet (or any white flaky fish)
- ½ cup can chopped tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup stone-ground grits*
- Oil for frying
- ¼ cup butter
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 cup of water, milk, and a bay leaf to a boil.
- Whisk the grits into the milk mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking constantly until the grits begin to thicken. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the grits are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir to prevent burning. Add more water if needed if the mixture becomes too thick.
- Remove the grits from the heat, and stir in parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and discard bay leaves. Cover grits to keep warm, and set aside.
- Cut the pollock fillet into smaller pieces and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Fry the pollock fillet for 3 minutes on each side. Remove, cover, and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of butter. Add diced red pepper, green onion, and chopped tomatoes. Sauté for 5 minutes, and then add minced garlic and vegetable stock. Season with the salt and black pepper to taste, and then cook for 5 minutes more. Squeeze lime juice into the sauce.
- Divide the grits evenly into 4 shallow bowls, top with the fish, and drizzle sauce over the fish. Serve with lime wedges, and enjoy.
*You can also use quick grits or instant grits. If you do, they won't need to cook as long.
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 20.4gSaturated Fat: 11.6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 669mgCarbohydrates: 21.4gFiber: 2.1gSugar: 5.4gProtein: 45.3g