Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Fish is one of those foods that so many shy away from cooking at home; yet they’ll pay $25 and more for fish at a restaurant, and that’s only for one person’s dinner!

I suspect that you shy people just don’t know where to start.  I submit to you that if you only knew how quick and easy fish is to prepare that you would become fish cooking fools!

It starts at the fish counter.  You need to be really friendly to the guy behind the counter; even if you're annoyed for having been waiting for 10 minutes.  Ask the fish monger what came in fresh that morning.  If you have a certain variety of fish in mind that is not fresh ask him to suggest something similar.  Smell the fish, it should smell like the sea, and the flesh should be firm.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and also know that the fish monger can often make suggestions as to how to prepare any kind of seafood.  Above all, remember to be friendly!

I’m also thinking that some of y’all are afraid your house will stink like fish for three days after you’ve cooked it.  Let me assure you that if the fish is fresh, your home will not stink at all!

In my opinion pan searing individual portions of fish is the easiest method.  The fish cooks in just minutes, it’s really easy to tell when the fish is cooked perfectly, and then it can be served in a multitude of ways.

Wouldn’t Mom be surprised if you served her a lovely Pan Seared Grouper for her Mother’s Day dinner?  And since this fancy dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes, you have time to actually spend visiting; which is what Mom really wants any way.

Here’s what you do.

Coat both sides of the grouper with a little olive oil and season both sides with salt & pepper.

I like to let the fish marinate like this while I start the zucchini.

Toss a zucchini (diced into about 1 inch pieces) with olive oil, herbs de provence (or Italian seasoning), salt, and pepper.  Roast that in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, until the zucchini is tender.

 When the zucchini has been in the oven for 10 minutes, start to cook the grouper.

Heat an oven proof skillet over medium high heat.
Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet, and then add the fish.
Cook for about 3 minutes on the first side.
Use a metal spatula to turn the fish, add a touch more olive oil to the pan if it's needed.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Finish cooking the fish in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes.

To tell when the fish is done, press the center of the fish, the flakes should separate easily.

If you’re not confident with that method gently take the tip of a knife and pull the flakes apart in the center, the center should be opaque.

The reason that two different heat sources are used is because; the direct heat of the cook top sears the outside giving a nice crust and good flavor, but is too intense to yield a moist end product.  If the fish were cooked only in the oven's indirect heat, the fish would be moist but you would be missing out on that yummy flavor that comes from the pan searing.

Pan Seared Grouper is meaty enough that it can stand up to the bold flavor of the Romesco Sauce which also compliments the Roasted Zucchini wonderfully.  I also served some Baked Croquettes that were leftover from dinner the night before.

If you wanna take it in a tropical direction, this Mango Relish would also go perfectly with Pan Seared Grouper.


Serves 2

2-6          oz.              Portions grouper fillet, or another meaty fish such as sea bass or mahi mahi
                                Olive oil
                                Salt and pepper to taste

   1.       Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
   2.       Coat both sides of the fish with a little olive oil; and also season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.
   3.       Heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot add the grouper.  Cook on the first side for about 3 minutes; add a bit more olive oil to the pan if necessary, and turn the fish and cook for another 2 minutes.
   4.       Finish cooking the fish in the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the fish is cooked in the center.  You can tell this because when you press in the center of the fish, the flakes will easily separate.

  Squeeze a little lemon over the fish or top Pan Seared Grouper with Romesco Sauce, or Mango Relish.


Serves 2
     2              cups       Zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 1 medium zucchini)
     2              Tsp.        Olive oil
     ½             tsp.        Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning
                                 Salt and pepper

   1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
   2.       Combine all of the ingredients in a single layer, in a small baking dish (mine measure 6 x 8 x 2 inches).
   3.       Roast for 20 minutes, until the zucchini is tender.

You may also like: 

Whole Yellow Tail Snapper with Mango Relish
Pan Seared Sea Bass with Watercress and Lemon


  1. I don't do nearly enough pan searing when it comes to fish and your grouper looks like it turned out deliciously! Love the zucchini and the sauce! Gorgeous plate!

  2. Hi Kari, nice plating. I love your comfort meal, both look superb. The mango relish look so refreshing and I'm sure it taste heavenly.

    Have a nice weekend.

  3. I was just saying this week how I need more fish in my life! This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for all the helpful tips!