I really like broiled or roasted fish, especially grouper, mahi-mahi, and halibut. I order it often when I go out to dinner, and yet I rarely cook fish at home. This is in large-part because I like a nice sauce to go with my fish, and I’m never quite sure what to do without resorting to a high-fat tartar or cream-based sauce. Two standbys are a goat-cheese caper sauce and salsa (which I blogged about in an earlier recipe for pan-roasted mahi-mahi), but I wanted to try something new.
I’m just about counting the days until tomatoes are in season, but until then I wanted to use something else as the base of my salsa. I’ve been grilling a lot lately, so I thought it might be fun to try grilled pineapple in the salsa. Once I’d decided on that, the rest of the ingredients fell into place: tart tomatillos to serve as a counterpoint to the sweet pineapple, roasted poblanos since I like them with tomatillos, red onion and jalapeño. I thought I might add a little lime juice or honey if it was too sweet or tart, but I liked the mix of flavors without adding either.
For the grouper, I just started it on the stove and finished it in the oven. This is a pretty full-proof method for cooking fish. I served the fish over local chard – for this, I just removed the cooked fish from the pan, deglazed with a little white wine, then cooked the chard in the pan. This would be good with spinach, also.
Grilled Tropical Salsa:
Pre-heat your grill, then brush oil on the grates. Cook over medium high heat:
- 1 pineapple, peeled and cored, cut into 6-8 spears
- 1 poblano pepper
- 5 tomatillos (papery husks removed and scrubbed clean) – about 1/2 pound
Grill turning frequently for about 10 minutes. I removed the tomatillos sooner than that – I didn’t want them too soft, just warmed and a bit charred. The poblano should be cooked the longest – you want it charred all over when you take it off the grill to make removing the skin easier.
When you take the poblano off the grill put it in a paper bag or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam for at least 10-15 minutes. Once it’s cool enough to handle, remove the translucent skin – you can grab it pretty easily in the most charred spots and then peel off as much of it as you can.
Put in a large bowl:
- grilled pineapple, roughly chopped (I used about 1/2-inch pieces)
- grilled tomatillos, chopped
- grilled poblano – skin and seeds removed, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, cut into fine dice (I like to soak the diced onion it in cold water for about 5 minutes so that it’s not quite as overpowering; it also keeps the salsa from smelling too much like onion when you store it in the fridge)
- 1-2 jalepeno peppers, minced (optional)
Stir well and let sit for 30-60 minutes if possible to allow the flavors to meld. Add lime juice or honey to adjust to your taste.
Pan Roasted Grouper
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Add to a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet:
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering (but not smoking). Add to the pan:
- 6-ounce grouper filets, sprinkled with salt and pepper (preferably wild-caught; other mild white fish such as halibut or mahi-mahi can be substituted)
Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes without disturbing. Carefully turn the grouper to the other side, then place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from pan and serve with salsa.