Pan Fried Grouper | Tomato-Almond Pesto

Cliché aside, I usually don’t know what I’m going to cook until I walk through a market and see what’s available. It’s another one of the ways my older sister rubbed off on me; I used to laugh at her when I was younger because her kitchen was always full of ingredients, but no prepared food. She always improvises and comes up with something awesome, and I notice my kitchen looks just like that now. I had just ran out of a jar of basil pesto, so I was looking for ingredients to make more, but ended up I finding some dried tomatoes, and working out how to make a tomato pesto in my head.  I couldn’t find the traditional pine nuts, so I grabbed some almonds instead, and started looking for some fish to make it a meal.

You could easily sub the grouper for another white fish like tilapia, or flounder–or skip the fish entirely and use chicken. Similarly, you can sub the arugula for spinach, kale, or other greens–I just like the slight bitter, and peppery notes of arugula, because it counters the sourness of the dried tomatoes.

Anyway, let’s cook.

You’ll Need:

2 lbs Grouper Filets (or your favorite white fish)

2 Cups Flour

1 Egg, Beaten

4 Cups Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Chopped

2 Cups Slivered Almonds, Toasted

1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated

1 Cup Basil, Chopped

3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

3 Cups Arugula

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

3 Tbs of Lemon Juice

2 Cups Vegetable Oil

Salt & Pepper to Taste

  1. Pour vegetable oil in a frying pan on med-high heat, and pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Season your filets with salt and pepper, then coat them lightly in flour. Dip the filets in the eggs, then back into fresh flour for a second layer.
  2. Fry your filets until they are golden brown, flipping once during the cooking. Remove from the oil, and place on a paper towels to remove the excess oil. Transfer the filets on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
  3. Combine chopped dried tomatoes, parmesan, lemon juice, basil, almonds, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Blend, or smash with a mortar until a think paste forms.
  4. In a separate bowl, toss arugula with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and any excess almonds and parmesan.
  5. Plate and serve.





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