Pan-Roasted Grouper with Tomato and Butter Bean Salad

This dish is all about my home state,” Hopkins says. The grouper represents the coast, while the creamy butter beans, tomato and dill exemplify the seasonal bounty. “It’s Georgia on a plate.Quick Fish RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook

Pan-Roasted Grouper with Tomato and Butter Bean Salad
Photo: © Chris Court
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs



  • 2 heads of garlic

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

  • Kosher salt 

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar 

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 

  • 1 teaspoon sorghum syrup (see Note) or molasses 


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

  • 1  tablespoon minced dill 

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest 

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • Two 14-ounce cans butter beans, drained and rinsed 

  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups) 

  • 1/2 cucumber—peeled, seeded and minced (1/2 cup) 

  • 1 large shallot, minced (1⁄4 cup) 

  • Kosher salt 

  • Freshly ground pepper 


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • Four 5-ounce black or red grouper fillets with skin 

  • Kosher salt 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

  • 2 thyme sprigs 

  • 1/2 lemon 


Make the Vinaigrette

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. In a foil-lined cake pan, drizzle the garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 11/2 hours, until soft and caramelized. Let cool.

  2. Halve the heads of garlic crosswise. Squeeze out the cloves; discard the skins. In a blender, combine the roasted garlic cloves with the sherry vinegar, mustard and sorghum syrup and puree. With the machine on, drizzle in the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil until incorporated. Season the roasted garlic vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

make the salad

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the apple cider vinegar, dill, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir in the butter beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and shallot. Season the salad with salt and pepper.

prepare the grouper

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Season the fish fillets with salt, add to the skillet skin side down and cook over moderate heat until the skin is golden and the fish is cooked halfway through, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the fillets over and add the butter and thyme sprigs to the skillet. Cook until the grouper is white throughout, basting occasionally with the butter, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Squeeze the lemon over the fish. Discard the thyme sprigs.

  2. Spoon the tomato and butter bean salad onto plates. Set the fish on top, drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and serve.

Make Ahead

The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Sorghum syrup, sometimes referred to as sorghum molasses, is available online at

Suggested Pairing

Lively, Meyer lemon–scented Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc: 2011 Matanzas Creek

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