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Horseradish-Crusted Grouper With Oysters and Saffron

This dish is the creation of Commander’s Palace’s 1990s chef Jamie Shannon. He died tragically young but left behind many warm memories. It utilizes the big-flaked, tender Gulf grouper fish with a unique crusty topping with horseradish. The sauce is made with the most expensive ingredient in the world, saffron (don’t worry–a little bit goes a long way) and fresh oysters.

Carmelo-Grouper

  • Crust:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs. fresh horseradish, finely grated
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. Creole seasoning
  • 4 grouper fillets, 8-10 oz. each
  • Sauce:
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. chopped onions
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron (about 10 threads)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 doz. fresh large oysters

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. Melt the butter and blend it with the other crust ingredients until it almost but not quite sticks together. Divide this into four portions, and cover the top of each grouper fillet with a layer of the crust.

2. Place the encrusted fish fillets in a large skillet or baking pan, lightly oiled with olive oil. Bake the fish in a preheated 400- degree oven for 10-14 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Reduce the cream by one third in a saucepan. In a skillet, heat the butter over medium heat and in it sauté the onions, shallots, and garlic until translucent.

4. Add the reduced cream to the skillet and bring to a boil. Strain the contents of the skillet back into the saucepan and add the saffron, salt, pepper, and oysters. Cook until edges of the oysters begin to curl.

5. Place the fish on serving plates and surround with three oysters per person. Pour the sauce onto the plate, around (but not over) the fish.

Serves four.

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