Saltine Crusted Halibut, Stone Ground Grits and Green Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
2 ea. 8 oz. Halibut Filets, Cut horizontally to make 4, 4oz pieces
2 cups. Saltine Crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
4 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
4 Tbsp. Old Bay
4 ea. Pork Bacon Slices, diced
1 cup Stone Ground Grits
1 ½ pint Chicken or Veggie Stock
½ # Unsalted butter
2 oz. Cheddar Cheese, grated
12 ea. Grape Tomatoes, halved
½ cup Red Onion, shaved
½ cup English Cucumber, shaved
½ cup Olive Oil
½ cup Canola Oil
1 pint Baby Arugula, Frisée or Mizuna (or a mix of all 3)
1 ea. Lemon
4 Tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Make your grits. In a large saucepan, bring 16 ounces of chicken stock to a boil, add the grits and tomatoes then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently to insure the grits don’t stick. Add more stock if the grits look to dry. Once the grits look creamy, give them a taste to check the texture. Some people like them grittier than others. It’s up to you. While the grits are still simmering, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of old bay and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add in the cheese and 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir until all is incorporated and tasty. Take the pan off the heat, cover it and reserve it for serving.
Make the Vinaigrette. In a small cast iron skillet, add the diced bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon fat has melted and the bacon is crispy, but not burned. Reduce heat to low, add the sherry vinegar, stir and remove the skillet from the heat and reserve.
Prepare the fish! Lay your fish out on a tray and space them evenly. Season the fish with old bay and a pinch of salt and pepper. Rub the halibut filets evenly with Dijon mustard. In a medium bowl, add all of the cracker crumbs. Gently toss each halibut filet in the crumbs until they are evenly coated with cracker crust. Place all the filets on a clean pan and reserve in the fridge.
Cook the Halibut. In a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed sauté pan, add the canola oil and heat over medium/high heat. Once the oil is hot add in 4 ounces of butter and immediately add the filets. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Once the fish has cooked, let it rest and drain on a kitchen towel.
Plate the dish. Heat up the grits and add a pat of butter to achieve a Southern Gloss. Heat up the bacon and sherry mixture. In a medium bowl, toss together the Arugula, cucumber, onions and bacon vinaigrette. Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper. Reserve. In a shallow bowl with a plate like rim; spoon in the grits, then add the fish filet and top with the green salad. To finish the dish; zest a bit of lemon over the salad and enjoy!