Recipe by Felicia Scocozza
While we live in the northeast, I must admit that Felicia and I do share a love of southern bottom fish when it comes to seafood feasts. When we visit Florida, the Carolinas or southern ports, we’ll often try to cook up a meal from what we catch but we aren’t above buying a fillet or two now and then for a change of pace back home.
Enter the grouper. Worldwide, there are over 400 grouper species to sample. So far, we’ve tried black grouper, red grouper and gag grouper, all of which possess a gentle flavor that easily accommodates to sauces, marinades and dressings. It’s also quite good simply fried.
Like black sea bass, which also works well with this recipe, you’ll find a variety of groupers flavorful and easy to work with. Smaller sizes, however, seem best suited to this particular recipe with a 1-pound fillet being just about perfect. Serve this with a light side of veggies or long grain wild rice and you simply can’t go wrong. We served ours over teriyaki stir-fried veggies and soba noodles.
Some grouper species are tightly managed and regulations vary widely from place to place – so be certain you are within the guidelines before bringing home a few of these tasty bottom feeders. Generally speaking, you’ll want a fish that’s just over the legal limit to plate with this dish. For larger grouper, you can divide a longer fillet in half, or slice a thick one to make two or more thinner fillets.
Yield: Makes 4 servings.
Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Cooking Time: 10 minutes.
- 3-/4- to 1 pound of grouper, sea bass, blackfish, sea robin or bergall fillets, cut into 3” long pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. orange marmalade
- 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- zest from ½ orange
- juice from ½ orange (zest the orange first)
- 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup green onions, chopped
- 4 – 6 orange slices
- Preheat a large cast iron skillet or other large pan over medium-high heat. Add butter or olive oil, and sesame oil.
- Pat fish dry and dust with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except green onions and orange slices. Mix thoroughly to create sauce.
- Place fish pieces in hot skillet and cook for three minutes.
- Flip fish and move fish pieces to outside edge of pan.
- Lower heat to medium and pour the sauce in the middle of the pan. Spoon sauce over the fish fillet as it thickens. Ensure each piece is completely covered with a light coating of sauce.
- Allow fish to cook another minute or two until it is no longer opaque and flakes easily.
- Transfer fish to serving platter and garnish with green onions and orange slices.
Note: Unlike baking, cooking is not an exact science. Readers are encouraged to adjust and modify these recipes to their own tastes.
By Tom Schlichter
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