If you’ve never tried grits then you’re not living life. They’re the bomb, and can be paired with pretty much anything. Grits are also extremely cost efficient as you can get multiple meals from a single canister. We ate grits often growing up. They were a Sunday morning staple. Sometimes with bacon, eggs, sausage and biscuits. Sometimes with butter, sugar and milk- served like oatmeal. But my favorite was always fish and grits, especially Sardines and Grits. And don’t forget the cheese.
You can customize this Sardines and Grits dish to your liking. Here I sautéed the sardines with caramelized onions and served with white cheddar grits. You can add any cheese you like, or omit the cheese completely. Be sure to include butter though (vegan butter is okay), along with salt & pepper. That’s the basic seasoning for grits.
The type of sardines matter depending on your preference. I prefer sardines in water for cooking, and in olive oil for eating out of the can since they have more flavor. But they’re available in water, oil, tomato sauce, mustard and even hot sauce. Some sardines are filleted and others may have bones, which you may not like. The bones are tiny and edible. So they don’t bother me. Sardines also come in different sizes, larger pieces and smaller like brislings.
If you’re not fond of sardines, then you can use canned salmon as a substitute. No need to change anything else in the recipe. You may also pair the grits with fried fish like this Smoky Fried Whiting. Although we typically ate Sardines and Grits for breakfast, I also like to make it as a quick weeknight dinner. Here’s the recipe.
Sardines and Grits with Caramelized Onions
- 1/2 cup quick grits
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp butter
- sea salt
- black pepper
- 1/4 cup white cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice)
- Heat the olive oil in a non stick pan. Add onions and sautee until they begin to caramelize.
- Add the sardines to the pan and season to taste with the sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.
- Turn the pan on low and sautee until most of the liquid cooks down, and the onions are completely caramelized.
- To make the grits, bring the water to a boil and add some salt. Slowly add the grits, stirring rapidly with a fork to avoid lumps.
- For creamy grits, cook the grits on low for 10-15 minutes (instead of the suggested 5 minutes), stirring every two minutes to avoid lumps and sticking.
- Turn off the heat and add additional salt to taste, black pepper, butter and cheese. Stir thoroughly until the cheese is melted.
- Serve grits hot with the sardines and onions on top.
- Sardines can be substituted with canned salmon, or any type of fried fish.
- Use cheese of choice or omit completely.
- Serve with hot sauce for some extra kick.