Exotic Seafood Survey #15: Groupers

The groupers are more popular in Florida than in Louisiana. But groupers are commonly caught in Gulf waters, and show up ever more frequently on local menus. Groupers come in a number of species, some better than others. The best of them is Warsaw grouper, a large (as much as forty pounds) fish with enormous flakes. I’ve seen individual flakes of it served, interleaved with other seafood or vegetables for a handsome effect. Yellowfin grouper–a smaller fish–is more likely to be the one offered as the fish of the day on New Orleans menus.

The color of cooked grouper is very white. That has a lot of appeal to most diners, which is one reason chefs like it. As does another characteristic of the fish–its mild flavor. Groupers can be a little too mild for my tastes, but I’ve also had groupers with a lot of flavor. Not often a lot of fat, though. For that reason, whenever grouper comes my way I always marinate it a few minutes in olive oil, give it a good crusting of Creole seasoning, and either grill or broil it. More polite methods of preparation will result in the very subtly-flavored fish preferred by those who say they don’t like their fish to taste “fishy.” (What a thing to be thought of as undesirable!)

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