“Every seafood joint along the Gulf Coast has its own version of the grouper sandwich,” says chef John Besh. For his take on the sandwich, he tops the crispy fish with a tangy relish and a drippy ranch-style sauce studded with charred jalapeños. If you’re planning on catching the grouper yourself, Besh recommends icing the fish for a day before cooking. “This will allow the flesh to rest and become a bit less firm and much more tender and flaky.” Slideshow: More Grouper Recipes 

July 2017


Credit: John Kernick

Recipe Summary test

35 mins
50 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Roast the jalapeños directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, stem and seed the jalapeños, then finely chop. 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic and onion powders, celery salt, lemon juice and a dash of hot sauce. Whisk in the chiles and season the jalapeño-ranch dressing with salt and pepper.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the vinegar. Add the cucumber, tomato and dill and toss to combine. Season with salt.

  • In a mini food processor, pulse the panko until finely ground. Spread in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, whisk the milk with the egg. In a third shallow bowl, spread the flour. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip the fish in the milk-egg mixture, then dredge gently in the panko.

  • In a large, deep skillet or saucepan, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Fry the fish over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain and season with salt.

  • Spread some of the ranch dressing on the bottom buns. Top with a piece of fish and the green tomato–cucumber relish. Drizzle with more dressing, close the sandwiches and serve, passing any remaining ranch dressing at the table.

Make Ahead

The jalapeño-ranch dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.