Major Appliances

@ The Markets

Grouper Cheeks Recipe: Sweet and Tender

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Grouper cheeks are a type of grouper meat, famous for its lobster-like flesh and delicate flavor. Having an extremely low fat content and serving as a healthy alternative to red meat, the grouper flavor tends to bind everyone into the realms of an amazing culinary experience.

Dealing with fish is not an easy task. You may end up buying the wrong type of fish. Even when you pass through that part successfully, cooking becomes the greater concern, as each variety of fish demands certain precautions. You can cook some with the skin, while for others, that can prove to be a disaster.

The same is true for grouper dishes; you need to be extra careful while dealing with the skin. That is why it is crucial to know about the fish before getting to experience any of its recipes. Scroll ahead and find more about grouper cheeks!

What are Grouper Cheeks?

Grouper cheeks are ordinarily known by many different names, which include rock, cod, sand perch, jewfish, Warsaw, sea bass, red grouper, or black grouper. All those names vary from region to region. The name grouper cheeks, however, is associated more with the big and stuffed head of the fish. It is a saltwater species which inhabits the Caribbean, Mexican, Pacific, and Atlantic warm waters.

Grouper varies greatly in its size, and the bigger animals do not even make it into stores. Generally, fish ranging from 5 to 15 pounds in weight are brought to the markets. The red grouper has a reddish-brown appearance with darker spots. The color changes for black groupers.

Before you hit the store to buy a grouper fillets, be clear in your mind about the appearance of fresh fish cheek meat. It has a firm texture with white flesh, like a lobster’s meat, and this flesh should have a fresh seawater smell. Commonly, grouper’s meat is available in three different forms–either as skinless fillets, whole fish, or fish steaks.

Choose the right form as per the recipe.  

Do not buy whole fish heavier than 10 pounds in weight. Why? Because the larger the sea animal size, the greater the chances are for ciguatera poisoning.

Grouper’s skin is quite strong in taste, so if you leave that on while cooking the fish, it may disturb the balance of flavors. So, make sure to remove the skin before you cook it.

Characteristics:

Grouper is a fish popularly known in most parts of the world. But, for those of you who go through a hard time identifying a grouper cheek, you can distinguish it by looking for certain features: the size, color, skin, and flesh. Following some basic pointers can help everyone buy good and fresh grouper cheeks for you and your family.

  • Size: Grouper cheek fish is famous for its large body and head size. It has a distinct appearance and provides a great amount of meat through a single fillet. The size, however, varies from extremely large to medium-range. In fish markets around the world, the commonly available size of grouper is 5 meters or less. However, the size also exceeds that. Red grouper fish weighs about 5- 15 lbs where the black ones weigh about 15 to 20 lbs.
  • Color: The appearance of the grouper can be distinctly identified due to its large head and skin color. Different species vary in color; the most available forms are red and black. The red variant has a reddish-brown color with dark spots, whereas black ones have greyish spots. The skin is slimy in appearance and does not have a good taste. So avoid using it while cooking fish fillets.
  • Meat: Grouper’s cheek flesh looks whitish-pink in color. The pinkish color represents the freshness of the meat. The white is cloudy in appearance. Flesh color changes with cooking, and it turns white in appearance once it is tender and well-cooked. It can be poached, steamed, boiled, seared, or even fried; the texture remains firm and delicious.
  • Cooking: A standard grouper cheek fillet takes about 10 minutes to be cooked completely. The cooking time varies from the type of cut and thickness of the fish. The cooking time also varies with the weight of the fillets. Red groupers are available in smaller sizes; therefore, they are the preferred option for every dinner table.
  • Flavor: The grouper cheeks flavor is quite mild. It ranges from slightly sweet to medium-sweet, with brown being sweeter than black ones. The flesh is flaky and has a firm texture. After cooking, the flavor enhances drastically. This flavor greatly resembles the flavor of a halibut or bass fish.

Recipe

There are endless possibilities when cooking a fish, especially when it has such a large head like grouper cheeks. Here is a small list of delicious recipes that can leave people licking their fingers after every meal.

Pan-Fried Grouper Cheeks with Roasted Radish

This pan-fried grouper cheeks with roasted radish can be prepared within 20 minutes. You’ll be glad you tried it.

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of radishes with greens
  • 4 grouper heads
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Pickled white onions, with ½ cup of pickling liquid
  • 4 small tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup of basil leaves
  • Pickled Nance
  • 2 limes, halved for garnish

Instructions

  1. Switch on your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Add 2 cups of water and radishes to an iron pan and cover it with tin foil.
  3. Roast these radishes for 45 minutes in the oven, until soft.
  4. Drain them, then toss them with 1 tbsp of oil, pepper, and salt.
  5. Roast these radishes again for 15 minutes in the oven.
  6. Take an iron skillet and add 2 tbsps of oil to the heat.
  7. Place the grouper cheeks in the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side until golden brown.
  8. Add butter and baste the fish with it. Cook for 45 seconds, then turn off the stove.
  9. Toss tomatoes, basil, and onions with pickling liquid in a bowl.
  10. Serve the pan-fried grouper cheeks with roasted radishes and tomatoes mixture.
  11. Enjoy.

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories 272
  • Total Fat 8.8 g 
  • Saturated Fat 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol 28 mg
  • Sodium 89 mg
  • Potassium 668 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 39.4 g
  • Sugars 2.4 g
  • Protein 14.2 g

Seared Grouper Cheeks

This is another tasty variation of the grouper cheeks recipe you can try. It’s easy to prepare and it takes less than 20 minutes.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • Grouper cheeks
  • 8 grouper cheeks fillets
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • white pepper, to taste
  • 2-oz butter
  • grilled creamed corn
  • 1 white corn cob, grilled and cut off the cob
  • 1 yellow sweet corn cob, grilled and cut off the cob
  • 2 tablespoons diced Spanish onion
  • 1-oz white wine
  • 6-oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped chives
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crispy tomato petals
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • a bowl of ice water
  • 2 cups olive oil for frying
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper.
  2. Take a sauté pan and add oil to heat on a medium flame.
  3. Add the fillets to the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.
  4. Stir in butter to the pan and baste the fillets with this butter.
  5. Add Shishito peppers and cook for 1 minute, then transfer the fish and peppers to a plate.
  6. Use the same pan and add onions to sauté for 2 minutes, until soft.
  7. Add white and yellow corn, white wine, cream, and turmeric. Stir, cooking until the mixture is reduced.
  8. Stir salt, pepper, and chives.
  9. Add Roma tomatoes to simmering water for 30 seconds, then immediately to an ice bath.
  10. Peel the tomatoes and tear the skin into pieces.
  11. Now, heat oil in a pan at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and sauté the skin pieces until they’re crispy.
  12. Place the skins on a paper towel, then season with salt.
  13. Serve the fish fillets with the corn mixture and top it off with tomato petals.
  14. Serve and enjoy.

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories 272
  • Total Fat 8.8 g
  • Saturated Fat 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol 28 mg
  • Sodium 89 mg
  • Potassium 668 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 39.4 g
  • Sugars 2.4 g
  • Protein 14.2 g

Conclusion

If you hadn’t been familiar with the sad-looking grouper face, then at least getting by through this article, you will have gotten some important facts about grouper cheeks. This fish is undoubtedly tastier than any other fish and gives a pleasing experience to those who enjoy seafood. Due to its large head and large body size, it provides bigger fillets and a sufficient amount of meat through a single source.

So, if you are planning to enjoy some juicy, seared whole fish, seasoned fillets, or seafood chowder, then grouper is one good addition to the menu. Enjoy the flavor of this seafood delight.

Tags: , , ,

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

Leave a comment

//