Simple, savory presentation for groupers and other firm-fleshed fish.
Grouper With Spicy Red Sauce
- Four 4- to 6-oz. servings of grouper
- 3 shallots
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 2 tbsp. chopped garlic
- One 28 oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- Fresh thyme leaves or dried oregano
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½-cup red wine (drinking quality!)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
While preheating your oven, peel and cut the shallots into thin slices, then seed and mince the jalapeño pepper. Cut the tomatoes into large pieces, reserving the juice. Pat the fish dry with paper towels.
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté the shallots and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat and add the tomato pieces and juice, wine, thyme or oregano. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Lightly coat the fish with olive oil and place them on top of the sauce. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, until firm. Serve immediately and enjoy, mixing each bite of fish with a bit of sauce.
One of my favorite seafood memories is my mother’s whole redfish (head intact and scaled), doused in tomato sauce, dusted with oregano, and baked. NOT! She always insisted the dish was “Greek style,” but to me it takes more than a handful of oregano and a can of red sauce to accomplish that ethnicity. I feel that with a bit more attention to detail and a bit more work, almost any fish, whole or otherwise, can be turned into world-class table fare—Greek, Italian or even Portuguese.
Any firm-fleshed fish, skinned or not, will work fine with this sauce, so long as you know a forkful, with a bit of the tomato sauce, will hold together between the plate and your mouth. Fine-flaked fish like spotted seatrout and flounder may not pass this test. In my opinion, grouper is the perfect candidate for this recipe, as it’s readily available, chef-caught or chef-bought, year-round. FS
Florida Sportsman Magazine September 2019