Low Country Fish and Grits With Red-Eye Gravy Sauce

When a trip to South Carolina yields a bounty of speckled trout and slot limit redfish, make up a batch of fish and grits

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
prep time
cook time
4-5
serves
Medium
difficulty

A recent trip to the low country to target big bull redfish in the surf around Beaufort, South Carolina, ended with a lot of fun and some great fish dishes.

The red-eye gravy sauce is the perfect topping for the flaky fish and creamy grits.

The big reds decided not to cooperate, so we scaled down our gear and moved a bit inland to the canals that snake around Saltmarsh Serenity, our vacation home rental for the week. Speckled trout and slot limit sized keeper redfish were hungry for live shrimp fished under a small popping cork. 

A successful trip for specks and slot limit reds, like these, yielded the perfect ingredients.

Low country fish deserve low country fixings, so we cooked up some local stone-ground grits with Gouda cheese. A sprinkle of a locally made spice blend and a quick sauté in butter were all the fish needed. For the sauce, we pan-seared some diced prosciutto from Chestnut Hill Cheese, a local cheese and charcuterie shop near the house, and sautéed some bell pepper and shallots in the resulting pan drippings. A splash of coffee to deglaze the pan and a few pats of butter finished the red-eye gravy sauce.

Ingredients

3 to 4 keeper-sized trout or redfish, filleted

4 tablespoons butter, divided 

1 tablespoon Seaside Grown Fish Dust

8 ounces diced country ham or thick sliced prosciutto 

1 bell pepper, diced

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 cup coffee

 

Grits

3 cups water

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup stone-ground grits

1 cup heavy cream or whole milk

1 cup shredded Gouda cheese

Cooking Instructions

Start the grits by bringing the water, 1 tablespoon of butter, and salt to a boil. Stir in the grits and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream, shredded cheese, and remaining butter. Continue at a simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. 

Local low country grits and fish seasoning lend a decidedly coastal flavor.

While the grits simmer, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Lightly dust both sides of each fillet with Fish Dust. Cook the fish for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until it just starts to flake apart. Move the fish to a warm plate.

Cook the fish until it just starts to flake apart.

Add the diced prosciutto or country ham to the skillet. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes to render the fat. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve. Add the diced bell pepper and shallot to the pan.

Bell peppers, shallots, and diced prosciutto are the base for the sauce.

Cook until the peppers are soft and the shallot translucent. Pour in the coffee and bring to a light boil. Use a spatula to scrape up any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue at a boil until the liquid reduces by about half. Add the remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir until each pat has melted into the sauce. Once all the butter has melted, return the diced prosciutto to the pan. 

Add butter a pat at a time to thicken the sauce.

To plate, add grits to a plate or bowl, top with a serving of fish, then spoon over the red-eye gravy sauce.

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