Cajun Rockfish with Cheese Polenta

Make the polenta a day ahead so you can chill it in a loaf shape and you can slice it easily, it costs $5 to buy what you can make for the cost of $1 or less. Besides cheese you can easily add bits of chopped up sundried tomatoes and basil, cilantro and green chilies, garlic and capers, or any other goodies you like.  I like to mix fine cornmeal with coarser grits for flavor and texture. Any kind of rockfish works for this meal. Sauté some sliced zucchini in olive oil, garlic and oregano and top with a dusting of Parmesan cheese to accompany this dish.

Polenta Loaf

1/3 cup yellow corn meal

1/3 cup quick cooking grits

2 teaspoons Chicken or beef bouillon (with salt)

2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (or to taste)

2 cups water

1 cup grated Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring

2 tablespoons minced capers

Place water in a saucepan and add the cornmeal, grits, bouillon cubes and hot pepper sauce. Turn heat to medium high and when the mixture starts to simmer reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the polenta is thick and bubbly. Turn off the heart and stir in the cheese, liquid smoke and capers. Taste and adjust hot sauce to desired hotness. Make ahead and just before serving quickly sauté slices in a bit of olive oil until slightly browned. You can also reheat the polenta in the microwave but sautéed is better. I use a 10 ounce plastic tubular container that I bought some sliced white cheddar in for a mold, it is the perfect size. I put a piece of saran wrap in before I spoon in the warm polenta and then I can just drop out the chilled polenta and it looks prettier than the store bought, and tastes better.

Cajun Rockfish

1 pounds rockfish filets

1 teaspoons hot paprika

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1½ tablespoons butter

1½ tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon white wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup half and half

½ cup Parmesan cheese

Mix the 5 herbs and spices together and sprinkle on fish filets. Heat butter and oil in a cast iron skillet, or something similar, and heat oil until quite hot and add fish. Fry the filets for a few minutes on each side and remove from pan. Add more butter or olive oil if needed and add garlic and cook for a couple minutes and then deglaze pan with white wine for a few minutes and add lemon juice and half and half. When this heats up add the Parmesan cheese. Place the sautéed slices of polenta on a platter, place the fish filets on them and pour the sauce on top.


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