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Pan Seared Black Grouper with Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce

Just a short time ago, trying to find a Meyer lemon in Richmond would be pretty tricky, if not impossible.

Thankfully times have changed around here, and you can even find them at our local Costco, who sells them in bulk, at a very attractive price, making them irresistible to me as I walk through the produce section of the store.

Also irresistible to me, is the complex flavor and aromatic hints of sweet lime, lemon and mandarin you find in a Meyer lemon; truly a unique flavor.

When they are in season (November through late March/early April), I grab them up and make all kinds of things: preserved Meyer lemons, Meyer lemon vinaigrette, Meyer lemon dust as used in this house favorite Pan Seared Scallops with Meyer Lemon Dust and Chipotle Beurre Blanc .

This year, in addition to my past Meyer lemon recipes, I came across a recipe for a Meyer Lemon Drop Martini from @BunkyCooks, that is really fantastic.

I also got to thinking about using the Meyer lemons in a Cuban mojo sauce, which turned out to be a really good idea.

Begin by assembling your ingredients. You’ll want them all ready to go when it’s time to put the mojo sauce together.

Garlic is gently cooked in olive oil until just golden brown. Then you add the remaining sauce ingredients, including a little soy sauce. (I like the umami flavor the soy brings to the sauce.) Bring the sauce to a boil and finish with fresh cilantro.

I like to use the mojo  within a few hours of making to truly enjoy the fresh flavors as a sauce.   As a marinade, the mojo will keep in the fridge for about 4 days and makes an excellent grilling marinade for poultry and shrimp.

I used the Meyer lemon mojo with some really beautiful black grouper that I picked up from my favorite local fish shop Yellow Umbrella Seafood. The mild and delicate flavor of of group is similar to what you would find in halibut or sea bass, which would make good substitutes for this dish if black grouper were unavailable.

After pan searing the black grouper, I finished it in the oven. I drizzled some of the freshly made Meyer lemon mojo over the top of the fish. The mojo was really nicely balanced and added a wonderful accent to the fresh fish, without being too heavy or overpowering.

So if you have any Meyer lemons at home and are wondering what to do with them, I hope you will give this one a try. We enjoyed the bright, citrusy flavors in this light entree, and hope you will too.

Pan Seared Black Grouper with Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce

Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce:

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

Juice of 1 grapefruit

Juice of 2 oranges

Zest and juice of 3 Meyer lemons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3/4 cup chopped cilantro

Make the mojo:

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until garlic begins to turn golden brown. Add grapefruit juice and next 5 ingredients to pan (be careful, mixture may splatter); increase heat to medium high; bring to boil. When mixture comes to a boil, turn off heat and stir in cilantro.

Makes 2 cups

4 6-ounce black grouper (other other firm white fish) fillets, skinned

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season the fillets with the salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over a high flame, not quite to smoking point. Add in the butter, then quickly, just as the butter begins to melt and bubble,  place the fillets in the hot oil. Allow the fish to brown well before turning it over, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and brown the other side. Once the fish is browned, place the pan in the oven to finish cooking,  about 3 to 4 more minutes.

Transfer fish to plates and drizzle with Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce.

4 servings

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