Tasty Southern Warmth

By / Food / August 13th, 2012 / 1

The story “True Grits” that appears in the September issue of Tidings contains a reference to a Cajun spiced mahi-mahi dish served alongside shrimp and grits. The actual recipe wasn’t included in the story, but Doug Snyder of North Carolina-based A Thyme To Savor has provided it for your enjoyment. Doug’s business partner, Kathy Hansinger, throws in a bonus – her authentic southern pulled pork recipe that proved to be a hit at the Cinco de Mayo party her and her husband threw during Contributing Editor Tod Stewart’s visit.

Kathy and Tom, friends of Candace and Doug, threw a blowout Cinco de Mayo party while I was visiting. Kathy is a business partner with Doug at A Thyme To Savor. This authentic southern dish was but one of the many she rolled out for the event.

Kathy’s Pulled Pork
Serves 12

1 head of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 (4 to 5 lb) pork shoulder-bone in

  • Place garlic, salt, peppercorns and oregano in a food processor. Process until garlic is chopped. Add oil and vinegar and pulse to form a paste. Place pork in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Score the top with a knife, making deep cuts. Rub mixture over pork and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat over to 350°F.
  • Cover the pork loosely with aluminum foil and place in oven.  Bake for about two hours. Remove foil and bake an additional hour or until internal temperature is 160°F.  Let cool slightly and chop chunks.

Can be served on a bun in stews or with rice and beans.

Doug whipped up this take on “low country” cuisine after a day on the beach. Though you probably won’t find anything labeled “grits” in Canada, coarse ground polenta (cornmeal) is essentially the same thing.

Cajun Mahi-mahi with Garlic Butter Shrimp on a Bed of Cheese and Garlic Grits
For the Mahi-mahi and Shrimp in butter and garlic

1/2 lb of Mahi-mahi per person.
jumbo shrimp deveined, rinsed and dried (six per person)
4 tbs butter
4 cloves minced garlic
Cajun spice rub (recipe as follows)
2 tbs olive oil
1tbs butter
Salt and black pepper to taste.
1/4 cup Italian parsley chopped
1/4 cup seafood broth of chicken broth for the Grits

4 cups water
1 cup grits (not instant)  
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbs garlic powder

Cajun rub (makes about 1 cups can be stored up to 6 months.)

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh coarse ground black pepper

Mix together and store in a jar.

Preheat oven to 400°F
1.  Rub fish liberally on both sides with Cajun rub. Set aside.
2.  In a 4 or 5 quart pan add water and 2 tbs butter bring to boil. In a small bowl add grits cheese and garlic powder whisk to blend. Add grit mixture to boiling water slowly. Reduce heat and cover simmering for 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cover.
3. In 10 skillet heat set on medium heat melt butter and garlic when butter has melted. Add shrimp to skillet. Gently swirl shrimp in the garlic and butter. Cook 3 min per side.
4. In a 12 in oven safe skillet heat on medium high add oil and 1 tbs butter when oil is shimmering
add the fish to the skillet (don’t let fish touch each other). Sear fish on each side for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and put skillet in oven. Bake for 8 minutes.
5.  Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside add broth to skillet and reduce the sauce by half.
6  Remove fish from oven set aside.
7. On a dinner plate spoon single serving of grits onto plate place one piece of fish on grits add 6 shrimp around the fish and spoon some sauce over fish and shrimp. Sprinkle parsley as a garnish.


Tod Stewart is the contributing editor at Quench. He's an award-winning Toronto-based wine/spirits/food/travel/lifestyle writer with over 35 years industry experience. He has contributed to newspapers, periodicals, and trade publications and has acted as a consultant to the hospitality industry. No matter what the subject matter, he aims to write an entertaining read. His book, 'Where The Spirits Moved Me' is now available on Amazon and Apple.

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