I ate grits nearly every morning, growing up. My go-to grits combination was a little butter and a whole lotta Louisiana hot sauce, and I always had to have a piece of toast to slop up the rest of the grits my spoon couldn’t scoop up. This core memory, better yet, habit, sent me down a grits rabbit hole, and I haven’t turned back.
One of my favorite grit dishes is currently blackened catfish and smoked gouda grits. Versatile southern staples are my bread and butter, and this one by far has the most variety. The flavor overload in this southern dish will send your taste buds on an excursion through the depths of southern cuisine. In this recipe, I amplified this classic dish by topping it with roasted corn, green onion, pickled onion, microgreens, and the blackened butter drippings. Second helpings were most definitely had!
Plating for this dish should be rather quick. Mise en place is always a great rule of thumb when plating delicate southern dishes such as catfish and grits. A shallow bowl is the perfect dish to use for plating. Add two ladles of your creamy, cheesy hot grits to the bowl then quickly after, add two pieces of catfish filet on top of the grits. Once you’ve plated the main ingredients of the dish, lightly drizzle your butter drippings on the outer edge of the grits and top your dish with whatever your little heart desires. Enjoy!
Mise en place: the preparation of dishes and ingredients before the beginning of service. French, translating to “putting in place.”
2 lbs catfish filets
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
2 tbsp smoked paprika
4 tsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1. In a bowl, add black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, oregano, and thyme. Mix until thoroughly combined.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt ½ stick of butter.
3. Heat an iron skillet on medium high heat, melting ½ stick of butter in the pan.
4. Pat your catfish filets dry with a paper towel, then dip your filet into the bowl of melted butter, allowing the butter to drip off your filet. Coat the filet with your seasoning mixture.
5. When your iron skillet is heated, place filets into the skillet. Cook filets for 2 ½ to 3 minutes per side. The filets will be thoroughly cooked once they become opaque and flakey inside.
6. Repeat this process until all your filets are done. Making sure to keep the butter drippings once you’re done cooking.
Smoked Gouda Grits
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of uncooked quick grits
2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1. In a medium saucepan, bring your chicken broth, seasonings, and bay leaves to a boil.
2. Stir in the grits slowly. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes.
3. Slowly add the heavy cream to your pot, mixing as you add.
4. Once the heavy cream is mixed well into the grits, add your butter and lightly mix until completely combined.
5. Lastly, the cheese. Add your cheese in delicately stirring until the cheese is well combined into the grits.
Chelsea Gieselmann is a mom, photographer, columnist, food blogger, and home-cook. Cooking has been a passion of hers since she was old enough to cut out biscuits with the mouth of a mason jar. Her great-grandmother taught her the basics and she is ever so grateful to have been able to learn from her. Since then, she has honed in her craft a great deal and continues to.