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Thursday, May 15, 2008

grilled grouper with cheddar grits, tostadas and chipotle salsa

grilled grouper with tostadas and grits

Several weeks ago I went to Buckhead Diner for lunch, and had one of those entrees that you think about for days afterwards. It was such a unique combination of things - cheesy grits underneath a couple of crisp tostadas, with grilled mahi-mahi, all topped with a smoky chipotle sauce and fresh guacamole. I decided to try and recreate it on my own, and while definitely not exact (I admit, I used a jar of "homemade" salsa that I found in whole foods since I had no idea what to do with the original), it was delicious.

Grocery list: grits, chicken broth, garlic, cheddar cheese, blue corn tortillas, chipotle salsa, avocados, cilantro, tomato, lime, fillets of halibut, mahi-mahi or grouper.
prepping garlic cheese grits

Start by making the cheese grits. For "dinner" grits, I like to make them with chicken broth instead of water, and with the addition of garlic. I think this is especially necessary so the grits can balance out the strong flavor of the chipotle sauce. Bring 1 quart of chicken broth a 2 minced garlic cloves to a boil, then add 1 cup of old-fashioned (i.e. slow cooking) grits to the pot. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the grits are done, usually about 20 minutes.
cheesy grits

Stir in a handful or 2 of shredded cheddar cheese, 2 T of butter, and a few T of whole milk or half and half. (This will help the grits to keep their creamy consistency while you prepare the rest of the meal.)

This is the point where I would make the guacamole as well -- by mashing 1 avocado with salt, juice of 1/2 a lime, some chopped cilantro, and half a chopped tomato (covered in a previous entry).

frying tostadas

Next, prep the tostadas. Heat 2 T of olive oil over med-high heat in a small fry pan. Place a shallow dish on the counter right next to the pan, and pour in about a cup of the chipotle salsa. Using tongs, place one corn tortilla carefully into the hot oil and fry for 20 seconds, flip, fry for another 20 seconds, then transfer into the dish of salsa. The idea is to crisp the tortilla, then cover with the sauce. Repeat until you have enough tostadas for 2 per plate (this recipe can easily feed 4, so make at least 8).

To grill a flaky white fish like grouper or halibut, you have a couple of options to prevent the fish from falling apart on the grill (this happens when the fish sticks directly to the grate, and when you try to flip it or remove it, it falls apart - very frustrating). You can either oil the grates of the outdoor grill AND the outside of the fish and then cook it directly on the grill, or you can wrap it in foil and cook it indirectly. I prefer the first option, because I like the charred marks on the fish and the flavor the direct flame imparts, but the second option is less risky. Either way, season the fish with salt and pepper, and grill for 4-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat, or until the fish flakes easily and is white throughout (no longer translucent in the middle).
tostadas over cheesy grits

To assemble the dish, spoon a layer of the cheese grits onto the plate, and follow with 2-3 tostadas. Top with a piece of grilled fish, then another spoonful or 2 of the salsa and a dollop of fresh guacamole.

1 comment:

Wendi said...

I made this - well, a variation - last night and it was excellent! I love your blog. I found it through isuanee, which I found in a Google search for Sewanee, which apparently I still cannot spell. Anyway, this was great, and actually relatively easy to do. I do not cook much, or didn't until the past year or so. I used regular corn tortillas b/c I couldn't find blue, and tilapia b/c it's what I had. I think a thicker fish like the grouper would hold up better to the other flavors, but it was still great! Again, love the blog!