Grits are a homey, Southern staple made from ground dried corn, elevated to fine dining with spicy fish and a fragrant tomato chutney seasoned with Vidalia onions. If you prefer, use tilapia instead of the Louisiana favorite, catfish, a sweet, white, fleshy fish with a moist, succulent texture. If you want less heat, use less cayenne pepper.
1. Prepare tomato onion chutney. Heat oil on medium-high in a large skillet. Saute onion in oil until softened, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.
2. Add 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and lightly caramelize, about 3 minutes. The sugary mixture will melt, being to bubble slightly. and darken to a golden brown. If it doesn't begin to brown, add additional 1 Tbsp. brown sugar.
3. Add tomatoes and vinegar and heat on medium-high, till tomatoes begin to release their juices and liquid reaches a gently boil, about 1 minute. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until tomatoes are soft but not mushy.
4. Add salt, and then use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits stuck to pan to blend into chutney. Transfer from pan to a non-metal bowl. (Chutney may be prepared a day in advance and stored, refrigerated, in an airtight container. Warm before serving.)
5. Prepare grits. Bring water to boil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in grits and salt. Cover pot and reduce heat to a low simmer. Allow grits to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove lid for the last few minutes of cooking. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
6. Prepare fish. Wipe clean skillet you used for sauce. Over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep drippings in pan. Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb extra grease. Crumble bacon when cool.
7. Combine cornmeal, flour, cayenne, and salt in a wide, shallow dish. Dredge fish in cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess. Heat reserved bacon drippings over medium-high heat. Place fish in skillet, spaced apart so pieces saute and do not steam. You may need to do this in two batches. Cook until fish turns white about a third of the way up (about 3 minutes). Turn over and reduce heat to medium. Cook for another 3 minutes, until fish is white all the way through.
8. To serve, divide grits among four shallow bowls or plates. Gently place fish fillets on top. Spoon tomato onion chutney over fish. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, then parsley and serve immediately.
Hannaford fresh Magazine, July - August 2008