Chef Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery learned this popular Louisiana fish camp technique—cooking “on the half shell”—after moving to New Orleans from California. Grilling fish skin-side-down with its scales still attached protects the tender meat from ripping and insulates it slightly from the heat, resulting in perfectly tender flesh.
Featured in: The Hunter’s Table
- 2 bunches scallions (9 oz.), green and white parts separated
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1⁄2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. colatura di alici (anchovy syrup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 cups water
- 1 1⁄2 cups coarse-ground grits (not instant)
- 8 redfish or red snapper fillets, with skin and scales still attached (8 to 10 oz. each)
- Light a grill and set it up for direct and indirect grilling. On a cutting board, thinly slice the scallion greens and place in a bowl. Place the scallion whites over direct heat on the grill and cook, turning, until charred and soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer the whites to the board and let cool completely. Finely chop the whites and add to the bowl with the greens along with 2 sticks butter, the lemon juice, colatura di alici, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix the scallion butter until evenly combined.
- In a large saucepan, combine the milk and water and bring to a boil. While whisking, slowly pour the grits into the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the grits are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining stick of butter, season with salt, and remove the pan from the heat.
- Season the redfish with salt and pepper and place over direct heat on the grill, skin side down, and cook for 3 minutes. Without flipping, move the fillets to indirect heat and brush each with 2 tablespoons of the scallion butter. Close the grill and cook the fillets until cooked through, about 10 minutes. To serve, scrape the grits into a serving bowl, remove the skin from each fillet, and serve the fish alongside the grits.