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Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Originally, I meant to cook some nice Gulf snapper for supper last night, but the place where I buy fish was out (I think there's something going on right now with the snapper market) and it was suggested that I try my recipe with Hawaiian Sunfish, which I think is a nice way of saying 'tilapia'. I love snapper and for some reason I have this idea that tilapia is a boring fish, but it tasted really nice anyway, and supper turned out great.

Baked Grits
Ingredients:
1 c. dry grits
5 c. water
2 tbsp butter
salt, pepper

Also for this recipe:
ramekin dishes (butter them)

First, I started the grits (the ones I got from the Kymulga mill) - one cup of dry grits takes a little over an hour to cook. For every one cup of grits, add them to five cups of boiling water and a couple of tablespoons of butter. Add salt and pepper.

Bring it all to a boil, then put the heat down to medium-low and let cook for as long as it takes (generally about an hour or so), stirring pretty often.

Here they are, almost done:

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Once they're ready, butter some ramekins (we only needed two, but 1 cup of grits makes enough for six or eight ramekins), fill with grits to about 3/4 full, and set the filled ramekins in an ovenproof dish with water to reach half of the way up.

Preheat the oven to 375* and bake 20 minutes covered with foil, then another 25 or so minutes with the foil removed. This will give the top of the grits (which will be the bottom once it's served) a nice crust.

In the meantime, I just sauteed my green beans, added some teriyaki sauce to them, and put the heat down to medium-low. This let the beans soak up the teriyaki flavor while I started the fish.
Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish/Tilapia (or Snapper)
This recipe is based on, but isn't exactly, the recipe in the Prejean's cookbook.

Ingredients:
2 c. pecan meal (I get mine from Priester's Pecans in Fort Deposit, but it's just as easy to make it yourself by processing pecan halves in a food processor)
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cumin
salt, black pepper
3 tsp. cayenne
1/3 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp each: dried thyme, oregano, basil
few dashes (as much or as little as you like) of Rex Blackened Seasoning
2 fish filets (tilapia or snapper)
butter for sauteeing the fish
a little warm, clarified butter to dip each of the filets in for breading

Directions:
Mix together all the dry ingredients. Dip each of the filets in warm, clarified butter, then dredge in the breading to coat both sides well.

Melt butter in large pan for sauteeing.

Add the fish and cook on medium-high, depending on thickness of the filets, about 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes on each side.

Once the baked grits were ready, I took a knife and went around the inside of each of the ramekins to loosen the grits. I inverted one ramekin on each of the plates, and the grits came out with no problem!
Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits

Then, I placed each filet over the baked grits, and surrounded that with my green beans.
Pecan Encrusted Hawaiian Sunfish with Teriyaki Green Beans and Baked Grits
Yum!

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