In the time it takes to cook the grits (quick grits, that is) dinner is just about ready.
- One portion white fish fillet (12 to 14 ounces), such as lingcod, pacific cod, sablefish, or rockfish, cut into 2 pieces
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, plus more for brushing
- 1 teaspoon Creole spice blend or paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup quick-cooking grits
- ½ cup (loosely packed) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (tightly packed) baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced
SEASON THE FISH
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and brush with oil. Rub the Creole seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper all over the fish.
MAKE THE CHEESY GRITS
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring 1¾ cups water to a boil. While stirring, gradually add the grits and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, spinach, and 1 tablespoon butter. Cover to keep warm.
COOK THE FISH
Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the fillet. Transfer to a plate.
MAKE THE SAUCE
Return the skillet to medium heat, add the wine, and cook until slightly reduced, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the remaining butter and swirl the pan until melted. Season with salt to taste.
Spoon the grits onto plates, dividing evenly. Top each with a piece of fish and half of the sauce. Garnish with the scallions and serve.
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Pair it Up
A good rule of thumb is to cook with wine you’d want to drink. In this case, look for a full-bodied, buttery chardonnay that will stand up to the Creole spices and balance the richness of the cheesy grits.
Level it Up
Using pantry staples, you can make your own Creole seasoning by combining 1 teaspoon each paprika and garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon each salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Change it Up
If there are any leftover grits, spread them into a ½-inch-thick layer on a small baking sheet or flat plate, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, stamp out 2-inch round discs, coat them in flour, and pan fry until crispy.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.