I took this 12-inch, strawberry grouper home from the Sea Eagle Market, in Beaufort, S.C., whole.
Caught in the local waters of the South Carolina lowcountry, I wanted to spend some time with the 1.5-pound fish for the purposes of taking photos, but when I was finished taking images, it came time to fillet it, not a task I particularly relish. It’s not terribly hard to fillet a grouper, as long as you are armed with a very sharp fillet knife, but, even if you are adept at filleting, it’s way more efficient to let the experts do it. With just a few swift motions, professionals can separate a fish from its skin and bones in a matter of seconds.
Strawberry grouper is just one of the many kinds of groupers belonging to the Serranidae family of the sea bass. Its flesh is white and delicate in flavor and is good deep-fried, poached, baked and broiled. Because fillets hold together well, grouper is an excellent choice for use in chowders and seafood stews.
Should you be tempted to cook the fish whole, with the skin on, I don’t recommend doing it. The skin is strongly flavored and will shrink when cooked.
I pan-fried my grouper fillets and topped them with fresh strawberry-kiwi-mango salad. Served with a side of some mixed spring greens, it made a delicious and visually attractive lunch for two.
For dinner, you might want to try Honey Orange Glazed Florida Grouper, offered by Justin Patrick Timineri, Executive Chef/Culinary Ambassador for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Brushed with a glaze containing honey, orange marmalade and orange juice, this recipe is designed for grouper that is broiled and is just one of the many recipes that can be found at the “Fresh from Florida” website at www.freshfromflorida.com. We all know we should be eating more fish — recipes like these make it easy.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.