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Pan-Roasted Grouper with Shellfish Tomato Sauce

By John Besh - , - Jul 10, 2013

—From My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing

 

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 55 minutes

Ingredients

FOR THE GROUPER
  • 6 6-ounce skinless portions grouper
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Shellfish Broth (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 cup Cherry Tomato Five-Minute Sauce (recipe follows) or good tomato sauce
FOR THE CHICKEN BROTH (makes 21⁄2 quarts)
  • 1 whole chicken (organic if possible)
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
FOR THE CHERRY TOMATO FIVE-MINUTE SAUCE (makes 1 1⁄2 quarts)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 quarts ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

FOR THE GROUPER:

1. Season the filets with the thyme, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Heat the 1⁄4 cup olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and sear, frequently spooning the olive oil from the pan over the tops of the fish. Cook for 5–7 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Transfer the fish to a serving platter and keep warm as you make the sauce.

2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the garlic to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the good bits. After a minute, add the Shellfish Broth and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. To serve, spoon the sauce over the filets and enjoy.

FOR THE CHICKEN BROTH:

1. Put all the ingredients into a large heavy-bottomed pot and add water to cover by 3 inches. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer and simmer slowly for an hour.
2. Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside for other uses. Strain the broth and discard the vegetables. Reserve the broth in jars in the refrigerator, or freeze what you don’t use immediately. Your pantry will benefit.

FOR THE SHELLFISH BROTH:

1. Substitute 2 pounds of shrimp, crab, or lobster shells (or a combination of all three) for the chicken. Place the shells in a roasting pan and roast in a 400˚ oven for 15 minutes. Then add them to the stockpot with the other flavoring ingredients.

FOR THE CHERRY TOMATO FIVE-MINUTE SAUCE:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes, and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the basil.

2. Pour the sauce into a food mill and purée. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to Ziploc bags or quart containers and store in the freezer.