The above searches through our website. Click here to search through our online store.

Recipe – Southern-Fried Fish Paired with Cur-8

a meal of grits, okra, fried fish, and Allagash and Crowns & Hops Cur-8

Words + Recipe: Stephanie Grant

Images: Ali Lamoureux


Fish fries are a staple in the Black community, going back as far as our first days on this continent. On Saturdays, enslaved people would work until noon, and some would spend the rest of the day fishing, bringing back whatever they caught for the rest of the community. That time-honored tradition still stands today, reaching across the country, gathering together friends and families for celebration and fellowship.

Growing up Catholic, we regularly ate fried fish during Lent. Sometimes we would hit up the local fish shack for dinner, but the best times were when my mom would fry the fish at home. We would rush through the house, closing all the doors to keep the fried food smell from wafting into our bedrooms. My mom would pull an old jar out of the pantry filled with canola oil, and if you looked closely, you could see specks of cornmeal suspended in the liquid. That’s how we would tell the difference between grease for chicken and fish. She would crack open the jar and inspect the oil, making sure it was good to use. 

Then, she would pour the oil into a cast-iron skillet. While the oil heated, she would dredge filets of whiting in cornmeal. I would stand nearby as she slowly laid the fish in the oil. In minutes, sounds of hissing and popping would fill the kitchen while a pot of grits bubbled away on the stove. As soon as a piece of fish was ready, we would ladle grits onto our plates and snatch up a piece of fish. In my house, we ate our fish with yellow mustard and plenty of hot sauce. I later realized that the acidity from the mustard and hot sauce helped cut the grease from the fish. It’s a perfect combination. Today, I get to wash down all that fried goodness with a beer. 

Cur-8 is a perfect beer for the job. Cur-8 blends the crisp flavor of Crowns & Hops 8 Trill Pils with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak from Allagash Curieux. This beer is a celebration of shared passion for brewing, innovation, and creating more opportunities for the Black community in and around the craft beer industry. A perfect reason to host a fish fry.

There are several ways to round out your fish fry. While our family pairs our fish with grits (cue Outkast’s ATLiens), others enjoy their fish with spaghetti, fries, or hushpuppies. Thanks to Chef Matthew Raiford’s Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer, I started cooking up a side of okra and tomatoes, a classic southern dish, to eat with my fish and grits. While I love hushpuppies and fries, adding a vegetable side adds some lightness to the dish.

fried fish in a dredge courtesy of Stephanie Grant
frying fish in a cast-iron skillet

Fish and Grits with Okra and Stewed Tomatoes

Serves 4 people



For the Grits

  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • Salt and pepper


For the Okra and Tomatoes

  • 1 large shallot
  • 12-oz cut frozen okra
  • 28-oz stewed whole tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper


For the Fish

  • 1 lb whiting or other white fish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Oil for frying


Step 1

Add milk, 2 cups of water, grits, and 1 tsp of salt to a medium-sized pot over high heat. Whisk grits and allow to come to a boil. Whisk again. This keeps the grits from clumping and sticking. Reduce heat to a simmer until thickened and creamy, about 25 minutes or more depending on the coarseness of your grits. Whisk occasionally. If grits thicken before they’re fully cooked, add a little water to loosen them. Once grits are cooked, add butter and season to taste. While the grits cook, start on the okra and tomatoes.

Step 2 

In a medium-sized pot, saute shallots in olive oil over medium heat until softened. Stir in okra. Pour juice from the stewed tomatoes into the pot. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste. While the okra and tomatoes cook, start on the fish. 

Step 3 

When the grits and okra and tomatoes are nearly done, prep the fish. Mix together cornmeal, flour, and lemon zest. Sprinkle flour and fish with Old Bay. Dredge fish with cornmeal mixture. Add canola or vegetable oil to a cast-iron skillet. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Add fish filet into oil slowly. Fry until golden brown. Place fried fish on a wire rack to cool, then transfer to a paper towel lined dish for serving. 

Step 4 

Ladle grits into a bowl and top with okra and tomatoes. Eat alongside fish. Don’t forget to douse your cornmeal-crusted fried filets in plenty of hot sauce and mustard.

Pin It on Pinterest