Cajun Snapper and Shrimp over Bacon Cheddar Cheese Grits with Red Pepper Coulis

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: 10 min
Cook: 1 hr 20 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

FOR THE RED PEPPER COULIS:
  • 10 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
FOR THE CHEDDAR CHEESE GRITS:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked grits
  • 6 ounces raw chopped shrimp
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 4 tablespoons sliced scallions (5 to 6 scallions), plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons diced tomatoes (about 1 plum tomato)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 4 tablespoons cooked bacon, chopped (about 4 slices)
  • 4 ounces shredded Cheddar
FOR THE SNAPPER AND SHRIMP:
  • 6 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets, scaled but with skin on
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun spice
  • 1/8 cup grapeseed oil
  • 6 large shrimp peeled and deveined
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Directions

For the red pepper coulis:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

On the stovetop, bring the chicken stock, onion, garlic and wine to a simmer in a saucepan.

Place the peppers in a roasting pan and roast in the oven, checking every 15 minutes, and turning them with tongs until the skin is fully wrinkled and charred black. When the peppers are done, use tongs to put them in a ziptop bag which (for safety reasons) you have resting on a plate - (Remember, they're volcanically hot!). Carefully zip the bag shut, and allow them to sweat for 5 minutes. Use oven mitts to prevent getting burned while you handle the bag in the next step of sliding the peppers from the bag into a bowl filled with a couple of inches of ice water. You can then use your fingers to work quickly to slip off and discard the skins of the peppers while they are in the water. You will be left with beautifully cooked red peppers with a wonderful color. Remove stem and seeds. Chop the peppers and add them to the simmering chicken stock mixture, and continue simmering until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Create a slurry of cornstarch in a small amount of water and add to the red pepper sauce. Process coulis in a blender until a smooth consistency is achieved. Then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the grits:
Bring water for grits to a boil. Add grits and chopped shrimp, reduce heat and cook until grits are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, bacon and cheese, and keep covered in a warm place.

For the fish:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat both sides of red snapper with salt and pepper and Cajun spice. Then on the stovetop, heat some grapeseed oil in a large nonstick saute pan, and when it begins to shimmer, saute the shrimp only until they turn pink, and then remove shrimp to a utility platter. In the same pan, sear each side of the fish. (When you place the fillet into the pan, leave it undisturbed for a couple of minutes to allow the seasoning to cook into the surface of the fish.) Cook until golden brown, then finish in the oven for a further 2 to 3 minutes and remove it to rest for 5 to 8 minutes. (Please take care to avoid overcooking the fish, as it will continue to cook even after you remove it from the oven.)

Place some of the grits in the middle of serving plate, then position a fish fillet on top, and drizzle the coulis around the fish. Top with a shrimp. Garnish liberally with scallions.

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