Grouper always reminds me of family vacations in Florida.
That’s because my parents used to have a condo on Siesta Key, which is near Sarasota on the Gulf Coast, and grouper is very common on restaurant menus in that area because it is plentiful in the Gulf.
I find grouper to be one of the most durable fish to cook. It is most commonly deep fried, but it also will stand up to grilling, like salmon or tuna. Most importantly, it is delicious.
Grouper is a very interesting fish. In comes in a lot of different varieties and can be found all over the globe. In the Gulf, it is sometimes called jewfish and can grow up to 700 lbs. Yet it is commonly caught with a fishing line under bridges and in narrow creeks.
Fun fact: Groupers are born and mature as females, then become males when they grow older. They also have no muscular bones, so they are easy to fillet, although the skin is extremely tough and difficult to remove.
Because grouper meat is so chunky and can withstand a lot of cooking, it is used a lot in stews and chowders. It is also commonly found in bouillabaise and paella.
In Florida, we most commonly ate grouper that was deep fried or grilled and served on a sandwich. So that’s how I prepared it for this recipe. I served it with a chipotle aioli, quinoa salad and braised mustard greens.
There are two ways to make the chipotle aioli: The easy way and the hard way.
For the hard way, you use a food processor to blend one egg yolk, one TBS of lemon juice and just a touch of Dijon mustard together, then slowly add 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil until it is emulsified into a mayonnaise, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Then you fold in 3 TBS chipotle salsa.
For the easy way, you just mix one cup of mayonnaise (preferably reduced fat) and the chipotle salsa. Most of the restaurants serving chipotle aioli make it the easy way, in my experience.
The grouper is simply sprayed with pan spray, seasoned with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and then grilled until done. It was served on whole wheat rolls.
Here’s the recipe for the quinoa salad:
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup red onion, small dice
2 stalks celery, medium dice
1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, medium dice
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
3 radish, small dice
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, small dice
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup EVOO
1. Bring water to a boil and whisk in quinoa. Return to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook 12 minutes. Turn off and let sit 15 minutes so all the liquid is absorbed. Remove cover, fluff with fork and let sit until it’s at room temperature.
2. Combine cooled quinoa with onion, parsely, cucumber, radish, green onion, celery and jalapeno in a mixing bowl. Juice lemon into a separate mixing bowl, add garlic, then slowly whisk in EVOO until emulsified into a dresssing. Season with S&P, then fold into the quinoa salad. Season salad with S&P, then refrigerate at least 30 minutes so the flavors can meld together.
Are there any foods that remind you of your family vacations? Let us know what they are in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!