Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel

  • Serves

    serves 6


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.


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


Step 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.

Step 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.

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