It’s one of the most highly-regarded items on seafood restaurant menus and sought after by sport and commercial fishermen. Grouper are considered to be some of the tastiest fish in the Gulf – if not the ocean. A member of the sea bass family, it includes 10 species that can be fished in the Gulf of Mexico. Among the clan, the yellowedge is prime catching.
Not to be confused with yellowfin grouper, yellowedge adults have an evenly-colored, gray-brown body with a bright yellow edge on all of their fins. (The juveniles also have snowy-like white spots that fade as the fish ages.) They grow to an average of 30 pounds.
Interesting Fact: All groupers are born female and then some change into males at a certain age.
Something to know if you would ever find yourself part of a conversation about grouper is that a newborn is called a “fry.”
While many groupers are caught at reefs, shipwrecks, rock piles and oil rigs, yellowedge prefer flat bottoms, which makes them difficult to find them. As a whole, they feed on crabs, shrimp and smaller fish at dusk and dawn hours; the adults eat only fish.
Fisherman Lance Nacio supplies the Delcambre Market with yellowedge grouper. He launches from his home in Montegut, LA, in Terrebonne Parish, traveling to deeper waters of 300 to 600 feet and deep drops to catch them, throughout the year. Nacio has been quoted saying he thinks the yellowedge is the tastiest and flakiest Gulf fish – and many New Orleans chefs who are his clients agree. The taste is a cross between bass and halibut.
Grouper is a lean, flaky fish with a firm texture that holds more moisture than most fish. Health observers will be happy to know it has little to no fat and is high in protein. Low in calories, yellowedge is also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, vitamin B-complex, vitamin A, iron, magnesium and zinc. Because of its firm texture, grouper filets are great grilled, blackened, fried, sauteed, broiled, steamed, baked and even put into soups and chowders.
Wild caught and frozen at the peak of freshness, the fish are vacuum packed in 10 to 16 oz. packages. Yellowedge grouper are available at the Delcambre Seafood & Farmers Market, the first Saturday of each month, or online at LouisianaDirectSeafoodShop.com
Pan-Seared Grouper with Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
- 4 (4- to 6-oz.) grouper filets
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp minced shallot
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 425°. Pat fish dry with paper towels, and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Sprinkle filets with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Ensure pan is hot before adding fish. Carefully place filets, top side down, in hot oil. Press very lightly with a spatula while cooking for even searing. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
- Transfer skillet to oven. Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes or until the fish is opaque.
- Remove skillet from oven, and place fish, seared side up, on a platter.
- Wipe skillet clean. Cook butter in skillet over medium heat 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown.
- Pour butter into a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar, shallot, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. Serve on top of grouper filets.