Clay Pot Rice with Seared Wreckfish and Red Eye Gravy

By: The Local Palate

Put your cooking skills to the test with this savory seared wreckfish recipe from Charleston chef Shuai Wang. Providing a harmonious blend of Southern and Japanese cuisine, textures, and tastes, the delicate wreckfish—or any other white flaky fish that is local, sustainable, and seasonal—paired with bitter-rich red-eye gravy and smoked fluffy clay pot rice creates a mouthwatering dish. Try cooking with a traditional clay pot for this recipe because your rice will never taste better.

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Serves 1 to 2

    For the gravy:
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • 6 ounces country ham, diced
  • 4 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • For the fish:
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • 1 (6-ounce) fillet of white, flaky fish, like wreckfish, snapper, or cobia
  • Sea salt for seasoning
  • For the rice:
  • ½ cup Carolina Gold rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pickled Cauliflower Chow Chow for serving (optional)
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Sea salt for seasoning

  • Special equipment (optional): Japanese-style clay pot

Make the gravy:

  1. Put a small saucepan on medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover bottom of pan. Add ham, cook until golden brown. Add shallot and garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add coffee and chicken stock. Scrape any bits stuck on bottom of pan. Cook until reduced by half, then remove from stove, add butter. Stir until butter is completely melted. 

Make the fish:

  1. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover bottom of pan. Season fish with salt on all sides. When pan starts to smoke, add fish. Press down lightly with spatula to brown. Cook on one side until fish is nearly cooked through, then flip and lightly sear for 10 seconds. Take fish out of pan. Set aside. 

Make the rice:

  1. Rinse rice with cold water in a fine-mesh strainer until water nearly runs clear. In a Japanese-style clay pot or small, heavy-bottomed pot, add rice, 1½ cups water, and butter. Over medium heat, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook on low for about 15 minutes. (Pro tip: Wang says the trick to good clay pot rice is to let moisture on bottom of pot completely dry out so bottom of rice caramelizes and turns golden brown.) Lift cover after 15 minutes—if you hear a small sizzle, that means rice is caramelizing on bottom. 
  2. Turn off heat, add fish on top of rice. Cover with half the gravy. Cover rice again and wait 5 minutes to deglaze bottom of pot and loosen caramelized rice. 
  3. To serve, add spoonful of chow chow on top, season lightly with sea salt, and add squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve extra gravy on side.
  • Recipe By
    From Shuai Wang of Jackrabbit Filly in Charleston
  • Contributing City
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