Welcome to another edition of a Pints and Pairings Tasty Tuesday for the Peach State Ale Trail, wherein we find a classic southern dish with a little twist. Fish and grits is the slightly less omnipresent brother of Shrimp’N’Grits, but it is a great dish on its own. And since fish is not just a single thing, you can really play with the flavors more than with the new Southern staple. A staple that is on display is the beer that is doubly featured here: Sweetwater’s Georgia Brown Ale. This beer is familiar to Georgians by now, finding its way to many bars and groceries. Like Terrapin, they have put Georgia on the national beer map and make many great beers, even if the first one I heard of was Blue…
Here, I decided to feature the beer in the grits. It makes sense that beer and grits would mesh well together, adding a nice layer of flavor to the sometimes monotone corn dish. Also, the beer flavor is completed by the use of a smoked cheddar cheese that makes a bold statement along with the sweet notes of the brown ale. I highly recommend this method for your evening grits dishes.
Tuna was my fish of choice for this dish because I am not sure it gets its due as a versatile fish. Sushi or sesame are how you usually find tuna in these parts, which is great, but it also makes a great supplier of bbq flavors as well. Going with the bbq theme, I also made a sauce of roasted serranos and plums to top the fish. You always need a sauce to top the fish. Why not make a spicy sweet one.
BBQ Seared Tuna
Canola oil to lightly coat
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1 3/4 pound tuna steak
Cut the tuna steak in half, hopefully into strips depending on the shape of the steak. Coat the strips with the canola oil. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Rub liberally on all sides of the tuna steak. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
When ready, heat a pan to medium high heat. Coat the pan with oil and sear on all sides, about 3 minutes for the broad sides, and 20 seconds each for the narrow sides. Let rest for five minutes and then slice into thin strips to serve.
Ga Brown and Cheese Grits
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup GA brown ale
1 cup real grits
1 cup smoked cheddar
additional 1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
salt, pepper, onion powder to taste
Bring milk and beer to a simmer over medium low heat. Add the grits and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the grits become tender, add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Allow to cook another five minutes. Leave on low heat until serving.
Plum and Serrano Chile Sauce
2 Serrano chiles, roasted on a grill pan
2 plums, pits removed
1/4 cup honey
1 dash vinegar
Seed the peppers and put in a blender. Add the plums, honey and vinegar and blend until fine. Pour into a saucepan and simmer about 20 minutes until it is well married. Add honey if it is too spicy for you. (you can do only one pepper if you like as well) Sauce will be thick.
Plate the dish with grits in the bottom of a pasta bowl and top with tuna strips. Drizzle the sauce over the tuna lightly.
I served the dish with a basic pear spinach salad with a lemon-mustard dressing. It was a good light complement to the spicy and rich main.
Happy eating and drinking friends!