Cornmeal-Crusted Snapper with Spinach, Pepper Jack Grits & Bacon Bourbon Cream Sauce

cornmeal-crusted snapper from Brotula's in Destin, Florida
Photo courtesy of Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer/Proffit PR

This cornmeal-crusted snapper recipe is adapted from Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer in Destin, Florida.

Photo courtesy of Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer/Proffit PR

Cornmeal-Crusted Snapper with Spinach, Pepper Jack Grits, and Bacon Bourbon Cream Sauce
Makes 4 servings
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  1. 3 cups milk
  2. 1 cup chicken stock
  3. ¼ cup butter
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  6. 1 cup old-fashioned grits
  7. ½ (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, shredded
  1. 1/4 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into cubes
  2. 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon oil
  4. 1 shallot, minced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 3/4 cup bourbon
  7. 1 bay leaf
  8. 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
  9. 1/2 lemon
  10. 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  11. ¾ teaspoon salt
  12. ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  13. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  1. 4 slices bacon, chopped
  2. 2 shallots, chopped
  3. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  4. 1 (16-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. 1 cup plain cornmeal
  2. ¼ cup Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  3. 4 (8-ounce) skinless snapper fillets
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  1. For grits: In a large saucepan, bring milk, chicken stock, butter, salt, and pepper to boil over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened and tender, about 20 minutes. Slowly whisk in cheese until melted. Keep warm over low heat.
  2. Preheat oven 350˚. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  3. For sauce: On prepared pan, toss together bacon and brown sugar; arrange in a single layer. Bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook shallot and garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes. Carefully add bourbon, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Add juice of half a lemon and lemon itself to pan. Stir in cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is thickened and reduced by half. Gradually whisk in butter until melted. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan, and keep warm over low heat. Stir in cooked bacon just before serving.
  5. For spinach: In a large skillet, cook bacon, shallots, and garlic over medium heat until crisp. Add spinach, salt, and pepper, and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Keep warm over low heat.
  6. For fish: In a shallow dish, whisk together cornmeal and Creole seasoning. Dredge snapper in cornmeal mixture, gently shaking off excess. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add fish; cook until golden brown on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn, and cook until golden brown on bottom and fish flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve fish immediately with grits, spinach, and sauce.
Paula Deen Magazine