Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pan Seared Caribbean Grouper

My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary by spending a week in St. Martin.  As a surprise he booked a day long catamaran tour aboard the Celine.  We swam in the crystal clear Caribbean Sea.  We snorkeled around Creole Rock where we saw a sea turtle.  At the end of the day we stopped in Happy Bay to take a mud bath.  Along the way Celine’s captain, Neil, made lunch for us.  For most of our trip we stayed in Grand Case, the gourmet capital of the Caribbean, and ate in splendid French restaurants.  However, the lunch Neil prepared rivaled those of the French chefs back on shore.

I asked him about the grouper that he served us and we got to talking.  I found out that in addition to building the Celine and sailing her around the world, he also enjoys cooking.  He collects cook books and recipes from his travels. I was fascinated discussing food with this world traveler. 

This dish is inspired by our lunch that day.  My grouper isn’t anywhere as good as his, but it is still pretty darn tasty.

Servings: 4-6
Time:    Prep: 5 minutes; Cook: 15 Minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons, paper towels, a large, heavy bottomed skillet that can be used on the stove top & in the oven (I prefer cast iron), a plate, foil, and a metal spatula

  • 1 pound of 1 ¼ inch thick grouper
  • 2 packets/teaspoons  Badia Sazón Tropical (You can probably find this on the ‘ethnic’ aisle of your grocer’s)
  • ¼ (or more) teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • lime wedges
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°.
  2. Cut the fish into serving sizes.  Rinse in clean water and pat dry.
  3. Rub both sides of the fish with the seasonings.  Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in the skillet on medium high.
  5. Place the fish pieces in the hot pan without crowding them.  The idea is to sear the outside.  If you crowd them, they will not sear, but will steam instead.
  6. Allow the fish to sear for 3 minutes.  Turn them carefully with the spatula and sear them for 2 minutes on the other side.
  7. Put the pan into the pre-heated oven.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes depending upon the thickness of the fish.  Be careful to not overcook the fish.  It is done as soon as it flakes easily. Or (this is a trick I learned from Captain Neil) poke the fish with a skewer.  If you feel no resistance, the fish is done.
  8. Allow the fish to rest for 3 minutes on a plate loosely tented with foil before serving.
  9. Give each guest a lime wedge to squeeze onto his fish.
Lunch on the shore:
Caribbean Grouper
Yellow Rice
A green salad
Lime-Ginger-Garlic Dressing
Tomato Chutney

I plated this by drizzeling Lime-Ginger-Garlic Dressing onto the plate.  I laid down a spoonful of Tomato Chutney and topped that with The Caribbean Grouper.  I topped the fish with more dressing and a lime wedge.  I placed an ice cream scoop of Yellow Rice on the side.  Almost looks as good as it tastes.  Almost.

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