Posted May 28, 2013 03:20 pm - Updated May 29, 2013 10:03 am
Is it possible to love a fish? At first sight, I knew I had to have this 1.5-pound fresh strawberry grouper from Beaufort's Sea Eagle Market. This beautiful specimen was caught in the local waters of the South Carolina lowcountry.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pan-Fried Strawberry Grouper Fillets with Strawberry-Kiwi-Mango Salad
2 grouper (5- to 6-ounces each) fillets
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
Strawberry-Kiwi-Mango Salad, recipe follows
Mixed spring greens dressed with Sweet ‘n Sour Vinaigrette, recipe follows (optional)
Check the grouper for bones, removing them with tweezers, if necessary. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the fillets in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Heat the oil to a depth of 1-inch in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook fillets until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Place fillet on a plate, topped with Strawberry-Kiwi-Mango Salad. If desired, serve with mixed spring greens dressed with Sweet ‘n Sour Vinaigrette (recipe follows). Makes 2 servings.
¾ cup sliced strawberries
1 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced, for garnish
Sweet ‘n Sour Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Place fruit and jalapeño pepper (if using) in a deep bowl; lightly toss with Sweet ‘n Sour Vinaigrette to taste. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill and for flavors to blend. (Do not mix more than 30 minutes before serving.) Garnish with fresh mint, if desired.
Sweet n' Sour Vinaigrette
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon strawberry conserves (I like Harry & David brand), optional
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Combine all ingredients in a pint-size jar fitted with a lid and shake well to mix. Keep refrigerated. Makes about 1½ cups.
Honey Orange Glazed Florida Grouper
Recipe courtesy Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, www.freshfromflorida.com.
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1 tablespoon orange juice
¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon light soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
¾ pound grouper fillets
Preheat broiler. Combine all ingredients except grouper, mixing well. Place fillets on an oiled broiler pan and brush fillets with honey glaze to cover. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat for 4 to 5 minutes until browned. Turn fillets, brush with honey glaze and broil additional 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
Makes 2 servings.