4 (5-7 ounce) portions Florida grouper
2 large Florida tomatoes, diced small
1 cup thick-cut bacon, chopped small
1 cup grits, coarse ground
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup smoked Gouda cheese, cubed
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped fine
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
½ lemon, juiced
4 scallions, sliced thin for garnish
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
In a medium-sized saucepot, add 2 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup of milk. Bring ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Add grits and butter and let cook according to the directions on the package of grits. When the grits are cooked, add the smoked Gouda cheese and stir to combine. Taste grits and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If the grits seem too thick, add a small amount of vegetable stock or milk until the desired consistency is reached. Turn the temperature to low until the dish is ready to be plated.
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the preheated pan. Lightly season the grouper fillets with salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Carefully place the seasoned fillets top side down in the sauté pan. Cook each fillet for around 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and completely cooked throughout the thickest part of the fillet. Remove the cooked fillets from the pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy, and add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook the tomato mixture until the tomatoes start to wilt and release their juices. Add the heavy cream, lemon juice and 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Quickly bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat. Taste tomato gravy and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the grouper over a bed of grits and top with the tomato gravy. Garnish with the thin sliced scallions.
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