- 3 cups water
- 4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups instant grits, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 cod filets, about 20 ounces total
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 quarts peanut, vegetable, or canola oil
- Handful fresh cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Bring water, thyme leaves, and red pepper flakes to a simmer over medium high heat. Add 3/5 cup grits and stir. Decrease heat to medium low and cook until grits are thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in grated cheddar cheese in two additions, stirring after each addition until cheese is incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
Divide each filet into 3 to 4 pieces. Season each piece of fish with salt and pepper.
Place eggs, flour, and remaining 1/2 cup grits in separate plates or shallow bowls. Season flour with salt and pepper. Working one piece at a time, dredge fish in flour, shake to remove excess, then transfer to egg. Turn to coat, allow excess to drip back into pan, then transfer to grits and turn to coat. Transfer to a clean plate. Repeat with remaining fish.
Heat oil in a large fryer, wok, or Dutch oven to 350°F. Carefully add fish and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes total. (You may need to work in two batches).
Divide grits between 4 plates, top with fried fish and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro and a wedge of lime.