Mediterranean-Style Olive Oil-Poached Grouper

Inch-thick filets of fresh grouper are gently poached at exactly 120 degrees in top quality Spanish olive oil, thinly-sliced Meyer lemon, fresh Italian parsley and imported caper berries.  Freshly-ground black pepper and crunchy sea salt top off this Mediterranean-inspired, velvet-textured dish..

Deceptively simple, the key to success in poaching fish this way lies in ensuring that the olive oil is kept at a constant temperature throughout the entire process (about 15 minutes to pre-heat, and another 10-15 minutes to cook over low heat).  Use an instant-read thermometer to keep the temperature as close to 120 degrees as you can;  if the oil is too hot the fish will be tough and the flavors will lose their delicate balance.

“…Groupers, widely distributed in warm seas, are characteristically large-mouthed, rather heavy-bodied fishes that tend to remain in discrete areas. Some are very large fishes, attaining a length and weight of about 2 metres (6 feet) and 225 kilograms (500 pounds)—in some instances reportedly much more. Groupers are often dully coloured in greens or browns, but a number are brighter, more boldly patterned fishes. Some, such as the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), are noted for their ability to change from one to any of a number of other colour patterns. Also, in many species, such as the blackfin and yellowfin groupers (Mycteroperca bonaci and M. venenosa), individuals inhabiting deeper waters are much redder than those living near shore. Groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites; that is, they first function as females and later transform into males. Groupers are prime food fishes and also provide sport for anglers and spearfishers…”  –Encyclopedia Britannica

Pan-Seared, Pole-Caught Maguro with Habanero Mango Sauce

Pole-and-line-caught US Atlantic yellowfin tuna is quickly seared in ginger and lemongrass-infused coconut oil and served with a fresh habanero mango sauce..

Pan-Seared, Pole-Caught Maguro with Habanero Mango Sauce

Infused oil

3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger
1 6″ piece fresh lemongrass, split
2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/2 fresh habanero, stemmed and seeded

Melt coconut oil over medium heat until very hot but not smoking .  Add ginger, lemongrass, cilantro and chile, remove from heat and allow to steep 20 minutes. Discard lemongrass.

Mango Sauce

1 fresh mango, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed Mayer lemon juice
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
the ginger, cilantro and chile from above recipe
1 tablespoon infused oil from above recipe
filtered water
sea salt

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth, adding water as needed to achieve a spoon-able consistency. Adjust for salt and chill until ready to serve.

Seared Tuna

very fresh tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons infused oil from above recipe
sea salt
freshly-ground red and black peppercorns

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes. Coat tuna with infused oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sear about 1 minute per side for rare, then transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes before carving into 3/8 inch thick slices. Spoon mango sauce into the center of a plate and arrange tuna on top. Garnish as you like.

Atchafalaya Crawboy

Reminiscent of a New England lobster roll, this recipe uses red swamp crawfish poached in butter, garlic and Meyer lemon.  The flavorful tail-meat is then chilled and tossed with homemade mayonnaise, shaved celery, green bell pepper, scallions and Cajun spices.  Served on a top-split, toasted roll with dandelion greens, crunchy sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper and Tabasco sauce..

Atchafalaya Crawboy

For the Crawfish

1/2 pound red swamp crawfish tail-meat, preferably fresh
3 tablespoons pastured butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
2 oz semi-dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Melt the butter in a non-reactive pan set over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add crawfish, lemon juice and wine and simmer slowly until crawfish is barely done. Remove from heat, stir in parsley and allow to cool.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  The cooking liquid may be reserved for another recipe if desired.

For the Mayonnaise

8 oz olive oil
2 small pastured egg yolks
1 teaspoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, black pepper)
fine sea salt to taste

Whisk lemon juice, egg yolks and seasoning together in a bowl.  Add the oil in a very thin stream, whisking continuously to form an emulsion.  Season to taste with salt, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the Crawfish Salad

1 cup crawfish from above
1/3 cup mayonnaise from above
1 1/2 tablespoons celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon green bell pepper, diced
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Taste and adjust for seasoning if needed. Chill until ready to use.

To assemble

Top-split fresh sandwich rolls and toast under broiler until golden brown.  Spread with a little butter, then loosely fill with blanched and shocked dandelion greens.  Fill with chilled crawfish salad, then dress with Tabasco and lemon juice.  Serve immediately.