Pan-Seared Grouper with Fennel Salad

Baquetta grouper, a sweet, mild, white-fleshed fish with brown or red skin, is found from the waters of Baja California up to southern California and is the ideal fish for this dish. If Baquetta is unavailable, another type of grouper, snapper, or halibut may be substituted. Brown butter lends an unexpected toasty flavor and richness to the citrusy dressing. More citrus is found in the fennel salad: Meyer lemons—a sweeter, floral, and less acidic variety of the fruit—and deep crimson blood oranges. If neither is available, the standard varieties can be substituted, though with slightly less dramatic effect.

Pan-Seared Grouper with Fennel Salad
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  1. 1 tablespoon cold butter
  2. 1 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
  3. Juice of ½ blood orange
  4. ½ teaspoon minced shallot
  5. ½ tablespoon honey
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. 1 large fennel bulb (about 1 pound), fennel fronds reserved for garnish
  2. 1 Meyer lemon
  3. 1 blood orange
  1. Four 4-ounce Bacqueta or other grouper, snapper, or halibut fillets
  2. 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until browned but not burnt, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool
  2. slightly. In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, orange juice, shallot, honey, and olive oil. Whisk in the butter until emulsified.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  1. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, thinly slice the fennel.
  2. Cut the lemon and blood orange into segments, use a small sharp paring knife to cut off both ends, then remove the peel and the pith following the contour of the fruit. Cut out each segment of fruit from between each membrane and remove the seeds.
  3. In a bowl, combine fennel, orange, and lemon segments and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Set aside while you cook the fish.
  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. When the foam subsides, pat the fish with paper towel so it is completely dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on each side for 2½–3 minutes or until the fish is slightly pink and translucent in the center.
  1. Divde the fennel salad among four plates. Top with fish and garnish with fennel fronds.
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