Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel

Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel
Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel
Meaty butter-basted grouper fillets are topped with a butter-rich, citrusy crab sauce and served over wilted kale and quinoa in this recipe adapted from one by Florida-based chef Jeffrey Jew.Ingalls Photography

Meaty butter-basted grouper fillets are topped with a butter-rich, citrusy crab sauce and served over wilted kale and quinoa in this recipe adapted from one by Florida-based chef Jeffrey Jew. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story Life of the Party.

Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel
Meaty butter-basted grouper fillets are topped with a butter-rich, citrusy crab sauce and served over wilted kale and quinoa in this recipe adapted from one by Florida-based chef Jeffrey Jew.
Yield: serves 6

For the Pickled Fennel and Quinoa

  • 1 12 cups red wine vinegar
  • 12 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bulb fennel, minced, fronds reserved
  • 14 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 4 cups baby kale, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup black quinoa

For the Grouper

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 (6-oz.) skinless grouper fillets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 12 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 12 tbsp. sumac
  • 1 cup microgreens, such as kale

Instructions

  1. Make the pickled fennel and quinoa: Bring vinegar, sugar, 3 tbsp. salt, mustard seeds, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf, fennel, and 2 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; cook 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool, then strain, discarding liquid, thyme, and bay leaf; transfer to a bowl. Stir in half the oil, salt, and pepper; set pickled fennel aside. Wipe pan clean and add remaining oil; heat over medium-high. Cook chile flakes and shallot until soft, 1–2 minutes. Add kale and salt; cook until wilted, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add stock to pan; boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover and stir in kale mixture; set aside.
  2. Make the grouper: Heat oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season grouper with salt and pepper; cook until golden, 5–7 minutes. Flip fillets; add 4 tbsp. butter and the thyme. Cook, basting continuously, until fillets are cooked through, 2–3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add wine to pan; cook until evaporated, 3–4 minutes. Add juice; reduce by half, 5–6 minutes. Discard thyme; stir in remaining butter, the crab, sumac, salt, and pepper. To serve, divide quinoa between 6 plates; top with grouper and spoon sauce over top. Garnish with pickled fennel, the fronds, and, if you like, microgreens.