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Fresh Fish, Grouper, Snapper and Pompano, not fancy ingredients, favorite way to cook

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Now, I have cooked my fresh fish a million different ways with lots of spices and sauces. I want the fish to be the star. Not a lot of sauces and spices.

Looking for anyone with special tricks or seasoning that could make it really different.
NO CURRY, I hate curry (sorry)

Fresh grouper, snapper and pompano.
I would prefer to stick to saute, oven or grill. NO deep fry, we are having that tonight. We just caught them today. 45 fish total. No a bad day. I have 8 bags leftover.

The guys are just finishing up. They rough clean and I finish cleaning, although I could do better ... it's a guy thing to clean them so why not. I cleaned the boat and motor. (Salt water, got to flush the engine). So have some time before the deep frying starts, a routine for our fresh fish, a light beer batter with soda water and beer and tempura, salt and pepper and cayene then topped with a home made remoulade which I am making next. Hushpuppies of course, fresh warm potato and a fresh coleslaw with jicama and mango, oh did I mention beer.

So ... dilema ... this week any hints or secretes. I know the standard lemon and butter, pan seared with bread crumbs and oven baked. How about some new flavor, I do lemon and citrus and wine some times but I would really like to step out of the box with not getting too fancy. I like the fish to taste like fish not sauce.

Grouper, Snapper and Pompano ... Any help?

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  1. If really fresh: steamed with ginger and scallions only. Topped with a bit searing hot sesame oil over the top of the fish just prior to serving.

    11 Replies
    1. re: scoopG

      Caught 4 hours ago in the gulf of mexico, cleaning as we speak.

      That sounds good, may just try that. Have all that too.

      1. re: kchurchill5

        I'm with you on keeping it simple. Fresh fish needs nothing more than salt and pepper. Pan sauteed and eaten as soon as it hits the plate.

        I like grouper picata for some nice acid balance but really fresh grouper can have a melt in your mouth quality that I sometimes don't want to cover up with anything else.

        Baked pompano is wonderful. Roasted whole in a salt dome is a nice technique with this delicate fish

      2. re: scoopG

        No soy sauce?

        1. re: KTinNYC

          soy to me is ok with salmon but way to strong and over powers fresh fish, I like fish to taste like fresh fish and the ocean. Soy maybe as a light glaze but very very light. Soy with salmon to me is different. Salmon is very strong and can stand up to it. Most white fish can't. Shrimp can't too. Some scallops, but I even prefer them when citrus or light flavors.

          1. re: kchurchill5

            Chinese steamed fish is traditionally steamed with scallion and ginger and then finished with hot oil being poured over top and then soy sauce. If you think soy sauce is too overpowering then the sesame oil will be much too much.

            1. re: KTinNYC

              Good point, thx, just not sure... I really like clean fish, but I may have to try it and just go lightly on the sauce is all.

          2. re: KTinNYC

            Not really needed with fresh fish from the sea IMO but one can certainly add soy sauce or salt, if you like. If whole, cut 2-3 slits on both sides of the fish and insert sliced ginger pieces. Then sprinkle julienned scallions over the top of the fish and steam.

            1. re: scoopG

              That I like, maybe a little garlic, just a hint but background flavor. How about a simple orange, garlic and onions sauteed with some white wine. Simply reduced and just lightly drizzled on the fish after steamed. Nothing more than a drizzle.

              Nice idea. I haven't steamed lately, but I do like steamed salmon and have done cod. Not grouper. Same basically as cod in the sense of a dense white fish. Probably not with the snapper, but maybe a light ginger crust with some almonds roasted just a light topping and then broiled or baked. Topped with a white wine glaze.

              With fresh it is soo hard, cuz all I want it the fresh taste, but there a lot of good ways to cook it.

              1. re: scoopG

                Just a thought, side tract ... ever poach fish in plastic wrap. I place the fish in saran wrap, a little butter, seasoning, a lemon wedge and then wrap up in saran wrap. Place on a collander over medium boil water in a pan or pot. Cook 5 minutes. Amazing simple flavor. Even a drizzle of white white is good. I usually make a simple lemon white wine sauce with some fresh parsley and thyme to top the fish. Very simple. Asparagus is also good to put on the fish filets, white and green and some thin red pepper strips. Great flavor.

                Just a thought. Not for this dish which I want but it is still good. Thought I would pass along.

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  Ummm. Great idea - never thought of that!

                  1. re: scoopG

                    I do salmon a lot like that. You can even add shallot slices, any veggies you want, even did spinach under the salmon once and the the fish, some shallots, lemon, some spices and lemon and wrapped up and steamed on the collander. Really easy. Not really needed. You could do a simple butter sauce with a little white wine reduction 5 minutes on the stove with some fresh thyme or parsley, nothing more. Real clean flavors. Never did the spinach with the white, but may try for this.

          3. This is one of my favourite recipes for cooking snapper:

            http://cuisine.co.nz/index.cfm?pageId...

            It is not as spicy as it sounds and works well with fillets or the whole fish.

            Edit: When I cook fillets only I use a fish basket on the BBQ. Delish!

            1. A restaurant in the Bahamas does something called Grouper with foaming butter and leeks. It was outstanding and appeared simple. The flavour of the grouper was really able to show through. I have no idea how to do the foaming butter part but the leeks were just softened and chopped up in the butter.

              1 Reply
              1. re: amini1

                I can foam butter, that sounds interesting and pretty easy. Thx

              2. After coming back from a trip to Cozumel a week ago, I tried Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Red Snapper Veracruz-style). I loved this dish. Prior to this trip, the only snapper I'd eaten was raw (sushi). The sauce complemented the fish and did not overpower it. I'm looking forward to re-creating this snapper dish for myself at home. Here's a recipe that seems to incorporate the essence of my dish. http://www.mexonline.com/culture/mxre... Buen provecho!

                P.S. I bet Red Snapper Ceviche would also be delicious.

                2 Replies
                1. re: BigSal

                  I do like that, thx for the reminder. A good dish. Probably not for these this time, but an excellent dish you will like it. I made it a few months ago for a dinner party.

                  1. re: BigSal

                    Isn't this sauce DELICIOUS with fish? I love it made witht the whole cleaned fish, rather than fillets.

                    Diana Kennedy has this in her book Cuisines of Mexico. Basically, saute onions and garlic, add tomatoes, pickled hot chiles, capers, lemon juice, green olives, s&p and mexican oregano. Pour the sauce over the fish in a baking pan, and bake for about 25-20 minutes. Pretty simple!

                    The treatment with tomatoes, capers, and olives is very Mediterraean, and I think it has surfaced in many regions of the world that Mediterranean countries colonized. I recently came across a recipe from the Carribean with this flavor and ingredient profile.
                    Works for me, but not without capers and green olives--they give it a zest that is unmistakeable.

                  2. I don't like fish to taste fishy or have bones or nasty scales so I use catfish filet, roll it in plenty of bread crumbs, and put it a very hot oven (425*) until it's done and the outside is crispy. Then, because catfish is sweet and bland, I serve it with something tangy, usually either a) a sweet-and-sour pineapple sauce, plus rice or b) a fresh salsa, plus rice and black beans.Oven-frying is much less trouble and mess than deep-fat frying and obviously has less yucky fat.

                    1. Snapper VeraCruz is terrific, but I have a recipe which is a bit less effort than the one BigSal linked to. This snapper dish is my husband's very favorite; it's a modification of a recipe from Jane Butel's Tex-Mex Cookbook. I've changed some of the ingredients and reduced quantities to serve two people:

                      Snapper in the style of Vera Cruz
                      2 tbsp olive oil
                      2 6-oz red snapper fillets
                      1 tsp salt
                      1/2 medium white onion, chopped fine
                      2 cloves garlic, minced
                      2 to 4 fresh jalapenos, seeded and minced (quantity depends on your desire for heat and the heat of the peppers)
                      1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted are really nice)
                      juice of 1 lime
                      1/2 teaspoon ground Mexican oregano

                      Heat the oil in a skillet large enough to hold the two fillets comfortably. Season the fish with salt and fry until golden on each side; remove to a warm plate and cover.

                      If necessary, add a bit more oil to the pan and saute the onion and jalapenos until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the tomatoes, lime juice and oregano and cook about 10 minutes, until the flavors blend.
                      Reduce the heat to a low simmer and return the fillets to the skillet, spooning some of the sauce on top of each fillet. Cover the pan and heat for about 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if desired (my experience is the sauce needs a bit of salt).
                      Serve the fish on heated plates with some of the sauce spooned over the top, along with plain rice or mexican rice.

                      You'll probably have a bit of sauce leftover - great on the rice the next day. I tried the leftover sauce once in an omelette the next morning--not so good because it tasted a bit fishy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: janniecooks

                        Nice recipe, I love shallots, a bit of sweetness and definitely love the fire roasted as you mentioned. I do prefer plain rice with this with some of the sauce. Nice dish

                      2. For the grouper. Cut into steaks. Season with S&P. Grill basting with butter or garlic butter.

                        I usually then serve it Po' boy style.

                        DT

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Davwud

                          That is one of my faves, Usually we grill with a dash of old bay, salt and pepper and fresh lemon at the end and with a great simple dollop of remaloude.

                          Second is Beer batered and pan fried, third I wrap in foil with veggies and white wine.

                          Grouper is too good when so fresh to cover up. We ate them 4 hours after we caught them. Can't get much better. We had a variety of snapper, grouper and pompano, all cooked different.

                        2. Steaming is probably the best way to deliver the pure flavor of very fresh fish. That's discussed at length above (although nobody suggested steaming in the dishwasher, which works surprisingly well: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/594532 ).

                          Another of my favorite treatments for mild white fish fillets is to give 'em a nut crust. Mix together panko bread crumbs, coarse-ground nuts (macadamias are my favorite), a bit of flour, and a fair amount of butter. Brush the fillets with butter (or coconut milk if you want to riff on the tropical macadamia thing), coat with the nut mixture, and bake until browned on the outside and done in the middle.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            No coconut for me, too much, but like the idea. I'm just not much of a coconut fan, but sounds interesting. I make a mango pistachio and cranberry crust for fish, but usually not my very FRESH fish, usually not as good as 4 hour caught fresh fish. That is my dilema.

                            I do like crusts, always, pan sauteed. Nice idea

                          2. In Florida there are numerous restaurants that serve Grouper and Red Snapper in a crunchy breading.
                            This is a copy of my take on this. : http://www.scribd.com/doc/12738988/Cr...
                            Serve with a Raspberry Mango Salsa. Also available at my site on SCRIBD

                            1. FYI, anyone make fish cooked in foil on a bun under the hood of your car while driving ... a old southern way. Yes, went to the keys and was hungry, had some fillets and some hoagie rolls. Put some cheese on the rolls, topped with the fish and then wrapped in foil and yes ... duck tapped it to the engine and then drove. 2 hours later ... OMG, the best fish I ever had. It was a hog snapper, so tender, great and amazing. I laughed until I actually tasted it. We had some onions and tomatoes we put in another pouch as well duck tapped down and then ate them. Talk about heaven!! My friend who has lived in the everglades for years does this all the time.

                              What an experience!!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                what a GREAT story--should be a new thread--thanks for sharing!

                                1. re: toodie jane

                                  I almost thought that about what "WIERD" way to cook fish, even other meats. I was great and apparently done alot. New to me, but what a great sandwich, some tarter and OMG, heaven in a bun.

                                  I may start a thread, interesting if nothing else,

                                  Thx for liking it.