A couple of weeks ago I came upon some grouper that was very fresh but the fish monger would only cut me steaks rather than fillets. Had the fish not been so fresh and had there been a winder selection of fish to choose from, then I would have….skipped…the grouper steaks. I have nothing against a fish steak but I prefer the fillet as it cooks more evenly, no bones and it usually makes for a nicer presentation.
My first challenge was to make this jump from the plate and this “saltsa” or quick relish definitely raises the profile of the dish. Bold Greek falvours of Kalamata olives, red peppers (Florinis), briny capers, garlic and scallions, parsley and tomatoes. All the ingredients are tossed in Greek olive oil, some lemon zest and a squirt of lemon juice. This “saltsa” (Greek for sauce) complements the firm, bold flavour of the Grouper steak. Other fish that would be great with this saltsa are shark, blue fish, swordfish or monkfish.
The third element of this dish are the potatoes: crispy, flattened to almost patties and roasted in the oven…mostly. These potatoes are a riff on Parisienne potatoes where the spuds are par-boiled then tossed in melted butter and finished in the oven until golden and oooh so crispy. A delight to eat and I never tire of them (even at banquets). My Greek take on these potatoes is to substitute the butter with more good Greek olive oil and some garlic and follow the same process…almost!
The potatoes are par-boiled then tossed in olive oil and garlic then thrown in the oven. The potatoes are taken out half-way and I use a potato-masher to flatten them before they are finished in the oven to a crispy ending in your mouth. These potatoes will surely rival any protein you decide to pair them with in the main. Make extra!
Grilled Grouper With Crispy Roast Potatoes (Ροφος στη Σχαρα με Τραγανές Πατάτες στο Φούρνο)
4 grouper steaks
for the marinade
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
coarse sea salt
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
16 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 Tbsp. of capers
1/4 of finely sliced scallions
1/2 cup diced red peppers
1 ripe tomato, seeded & diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsely
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
lemon juice to taste
Crispy Roasted Potatoes
12 medium-sized Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 tsp. of granulated garlic (powder)
- Rinse and pat-dry your grouper steaks. In a glass baking dish, add the olive oil, lemon zest, oregano and mix. Add your fish into the dish and ensure they are well coated by the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
- In the meantime, peel your potatoes and place in a pot with enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil and then season well with salt. From when the potatoes begin to boil, set your timer for 10 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 425F, middle rack. Prepare a roasting pan by pouring the 1 cup of olive oil in along with the garlic powder. As soon as the potatoes have par-boiled for 10 minutes, remove from the heat, drain and place into the roasting pan while they are still hot. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the potatoes and gently toss the potatoes in the oil until well coated. Now place in your pre-heated 425F oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven and gently flatten your potatoes with a masher to about a thickness of 1-inch. Tilt the pan and pour some olive oil over the potatoes with a spoon. Return the potatoes to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. Flip the potatoes and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon more olive oil over the potatoes and keep warm (close the oven and place them back in in).
- In the meantime, you may want to make your “saltsa”. Add all the saltsa ingredients into a bowl (except the lemon juice) and toss with a spoon. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice, toss and taste. If you like it tarter, add more lemon juice to taste.
- While the potatoes are being baked, take the fish out of the fridge and allow to return to room temperature. If using your oven (potatoes are already done), crank your oven to the broil setting, raise the rack to the top part of the oven. Remove the fish from the marinade (discard) and season both sides of the fish with coarse sea salt. The best way to grill these grouper steaks is on a gas or charcoal grill or a grill pan on your stove-top. In both cases, ensure the grill surface is clean (residue-free) and lubricated with oil. Turn the heat to a medium-high and grill for 6 minutes a side. If broiling your fish, cook for 8 minutes and then flip your fish and broil for another 6 minutes.
- Plate your fish with a side of potatoes and spoon the saltsa over the fish. Garnish with lemon wedge, parsley spring and serve with a Claudia Papayianni White 2009, a 50/50 Viognier-Assyrtiko blend.
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