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Recipe of the Week: Potato Crusted Grouper Fillet with Herb Oil


PHOTO PROVIDED Chef Loretta Paganini

When you ride your bike on Sanibel these days to go to the grocery store you can’t help but notice how busy the island is. You keep thinking to yourself that the “season” is over and that all the snowbirds should have gone north, but then you realize that the local restaurants are packed with customers and there are people everywhere you look. You do try to avoid the busy traffic the best you can. It feels like a video game with entire families crossing in front of you carrying beach gear, cars cutting you off left and right, bicycles taking over all lanes and even the occasional bird crossing your path. What is going on? Where are these people coming from? Fortunately, my questions were answered by a local store owner who told me that because of Covid restrictions people were not able to vacation last year so they decided to visit Sanibel this year. I think the word is out that this is one of the safest and best locations in the nation. After all the local call Sanibel Island “paradise.” Serves eight. (Chef tip: For the freshest fish look for bright colors, moist flesh and fresh sea smell and only buy from a reliable source.)

24 ounces grouper fillets

2 russet potatoes, sliced thin with a mandoline

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup caper berries

1 shallot, finely minced

1/4 cup fish or vegetable stock

1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves

1/ 4 cup lemon juice and zest

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Take the grouper and cut into three-ounce pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Rub with mustard and line with sliced potatoes. Lightly dredge in all-purpose flour mixed with parsley. Add olive oil to the hot skillet and lightly saute the fish on both sides. Continue cooking until well seared. Remove and set aside.

Add the capers and the shallot. Simmer until almost limp. Deglaze with the lemon and fish stock. Cover with a lid and braise for two to three minutes over high heat until the liquid is reduced by one-half. Just before serving, add the tarragon leaves. Adjust seasoning and serve sauce with prepared grouper.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve.