Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Light and refreshing, this meal has it all. Triggerfish has become very trendy at least here in the south. It has a meaty consistency that holds together well whether you grill it or sauté it as I did. It has some of the richness you get from Sea Bass but not as oily. And of course my succotash which I’ve made a million times and posted once here. Each time I make the succotash it will vary depending on what is fresh. This time I used edamame and green garlic. Whenever I need to add a little crunch and starch, I go to grits (or polenta). These polenta cakes are easy to make yourself or you can buy premade polenta to speed the process up. I’ve also posted them several times here, here and here.



  • 2-4 triggerfish filets
  • Polenta (make your own or purchase)
  • Egg + milk for egg wash
  • Flour
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 strips applewood smoked bacon (I prefer Niman Ranch)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)
  • 1 large green garlic, mince the bulb and slice the stem
  • 1 larger jalapeno, minced (I leave the steam and seeds for heat)
  • ½ bag of frozen edamame (or fresh if you can find it)
  • Heavy cream (or half and half)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Olive oil

  1. For the polenta, I had some left over, cooked and cooled polenta but you can use the pre-made polenta logs. Most grocery stores will have them, check near the vegetables or the pasta isle. Cut polenta into desired shapes and thicknesses. I prefer circles and about 1/2 an inch thick.
  2. In a bowl combine the egg and a splash of milk and whisk to combine. In two more bowls add the flour and panko and season with salt and pepper. Dip the cut polenta into the flour, then the egg wash then the panko.
  3. Heat large skillet to medium high heat and add oil to cover the pan. Sauté polenta cakes until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Place in oven at 200-250° to keep warm.
  4. Pre-heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon strips (you can pre-cut them into lardons or you can leave the strips whole and cut them after). Reduce to medium and cook bacon until crispy and most of the drippings (fat) has been rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Depending on how much bacon you use, you should probably remove all but a tablespoon of the fat (but I leave it in).
  5. Add onions, green garlic and jalapeno to the pan with the bacon fat. Sautees the mixture until softened and then add the bell pepper, corn and frozen edamame (they’ll thaw and be nice and crunchy by the end). Season with salt and pepper and toss in pan until of the vegetables are coated and warmed. Pour in heavy cream and continue to toss or stir allowing mixture to simmer until thickened. Add the crispy bacon and toss. Taste for seasoning and re-season if necessary.
  6. Trim the Triggerfish if necessary and pick any pin bones. In a large zip top bag, add just a little flour, salt, pepper, smoked paparika and the fish. We aren’t looking to add enough flour to create a breading, just enough to crisp and brown a little. Toss lightly until coverd.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large skillet (I used the same that I cooked the polenta cakes in) over medium heat add olive oil. Cook fish on both sides until desired doneness is reached. If necessary, finish cooking in the oven. Fish should slightly flake when done.
Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

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