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salmon on two-cheese tabasco grits

I’m really fond of stone ground grits, but they’re sometimes difficult to find even though they’re well worth the search. Mine came from Trader Joe’s. Can’t find anywhere? Try ordering them online. Worst case scenario, use instant grits, polenta, or mashed potatoes instead. Sautéed spinach with lemon zest is a tasty companion here.
serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked stone ground grits, cooked according to package directions plus seasonings—see instructions below
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 big shakes of Tabasco sauce, about ¼ teaspoon– or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 4-6 ounce salmon fillets, skin on and patted dry with paper towels (Take the salmon out of the fridge 10 minutes to warm up a bit before you start cooking.)
  • Small red onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced thinly
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese-I like Tillamook.
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Instructions

  • WARM BOWLS: Place shallow bowls or dinner plates on rack at center of oven @150 degrees F.
  • MAKE GRITS: Make the grits as per package directions (including salted butter), adding an extra ¼ teaspoon extra salt, a ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, and the two big shakes of Tabasco sauce – or more to taste. When done, cover tightly and leave on the burner you cooked them on to keep warm while you make the salmon. If they are too thick when you begin plating, stir in a little extra milk, water, or butter and gently heat again if necessary. They should be creamy. See post (MORE INFO THAN YOU WANTED) for link to cooking directions if needed.
  • SALMON AND VEGETABLES: Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high flame for 2 minutes. Pour in the olive oil, swirl to cover pan, and heat briefly. Add the onions and peppers; sauté for another 2 minutes. (Stir them regularly throughout cooking to prevent burning.) Push vegetables to the edges of pan and carefully lay salmon fillets in the center, skin side down. Sprinkle everything liberally with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes or so until salmon skin is crispy and you can see the salmon is cooked about half-way up the sides. Turn, add cherry tomatoes to the vegetables, and cook everything another 2-3 minutes or to your liking. I like my salmon medium, so cook it until it’s just firm, barely flakey, but still juicy at center – about 125 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. (FDA says 145 degrees F for fish.)
  • SERVING: Remove warm bowls from oven. Spoon a cup of cooked grits into the center of each shallow bowl or dinner plate and spread them out to provide a bed for the fish. Sprinkle evenly with a tablespoon each of grated cheddar and crumbled blue cheese. Place a salmon fillet on the cheesy grits and top with onions, peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Serve hot. Pass the bottle of Tabasco at the table.

Notes

Salmon could also be grilled, as could the onions and peppers and tomatoes on la plancha or in a grill basket.
Extra grits can be reheated gently with a little more milk for the next morning’s fried eggs.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2020. All rights reserved.