If you cannot get fresh grouper, wreckfish or another fish in this family, other fish regional to your area works such as halibut, swordfish, snapper, and even salmon. Most cities have a fishmonger that flies in fish often. Frozen or grocery store fish will also work in a pinch.
The trick to great tasting fish is NOT to overcook. Period. Remove the fish from the oven when it’s 80 percent done and still very soft to the touch.
The Butter Wine Sauce is a good staple to learn for so many sauteed and baked fishes.
- Add capers, shallots, onions or mushrooms
- Seasonings like fresh basil, dill
Pan-Seared Grouper with Lemon Wine Sauce
- Ovenproof skillet
- Fine strainer
- 4 Grouper fillets (about 6-8 oz each)
- 1 T paprika
- 1 t salt
- 1 t pepper
- 3 T canola oil (or very light olive oil)
- 4 T real butter (1 stick)
- 1/4 c white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 1/2 c white cooking wine
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Dust fish on both sides with paprika, ½ t salt and ½ t pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat.
- Before it smokes, add in fillets.
- Cook on each side for about a minute. They will brown quickly. Both sides should be lightly browned.
- Place the skillet in your pre-heated oven. Cook for about 8 minutes per inch at most. Test the fish at about 7 minutes. It should be soft to the touch like very rare beef.
- Remove from the oven and place the fish on a platter, keeping fish next to each other to share warmth like the penguins in the Antarctic.
- Using the skillet you cooked the fish in, add lemon juice and start scraping bits of flavor stuck in the skillet. Add 1/2 stick butter and continue scraping the bits.
- If the skillet has cooled, turn on the heat to low. Butter should not burn.
- Add vinegar and wine.
- Cook for one minute, stirring with a whisk.
- Taste. If it is too strong, add more butter. If it’s too oily, add more vinegar. If it’s too tart, add more wine. Continue until you have a taste that is a touch sweet but tangy and you can taste the butter slightly.
- Add the remaining salt and pepper to taste.
- If the sauce has too many bits from the cooked fish and you want a more smooth texture, place a fine strainer over a serving bowl and pour sauce through to capture those bits.
- Place fish on each plate and spoon the sauce overtop liberally.