Fishmonger’s suggestion for how to cook grouper…or instant fish stew

I went into my local fishmonger here in Sardinia and there was a wealth of fresh fish, most of it whole and needing time-consuming skinning and filleting. There was one no-brainer, some fabulous tuna; and there was something very solid and white. It didn’t have any bones and it was already skinned so that too went in the shopping basket.

I asked how I should cook it, and the fishmonger described the technique outlined below.

Further investigation, once back in front of my computer, revealed that what I’d bought was grouper.

Grouper includes a group of various species of fish which often start off as female and then become male. They are all rather ugly due to what they are able to do with their lips – basically they collect and eat their prey by turning themselves in into strong, sucking vacuum cleaners, hoovering up unsuspecting prey and then swallowing it whole. They can grow to be enormous, the size of a small boat! You can find a lot more about grouper on this site.

Grouper – not a very pretty fish! Attribution: Albert Kok, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

And they are the chicken of fish! They have a very delicate taste, but a good firm texture so the flesh absorbs flavours well. This is a lean fish, which falls apart easily into large flakes.

Grouper – a solid, meaty texture, flaking easily into large flakes, but with a delicate taste which absorbs flavours – garlic, saffron, lemon etc – well.

You can cook grouper in any number of ways. You can:

  • Grill it
  • Griddle it
  • Fry it
  • Bake it, or roast it

All the above with a lemony butter sauce…maybe a little white wine, some capers….parsley…

  • Or…. As recommended by the fishmonger…. turn it into a stew and cook as outlined below.

For a recipe for cheat’s rouille, follow this link.

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