If you're looking for the best way to cook grouper, baked grouper is a wonderful option. It's healthier than frying and versatile enough to flavor several ways so you don't get bored with it. In fact, it can even rival many fried grouper recipes.
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What is Grouper?
Grouper is a fish that is considered safe to eat once a week. Because it has higher levels of mercury, other cold water fish such as tuna, salmon, cod, mackerel and sardines are better choices to be eaten up to three times a week.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), all grouper is part of the sea bass family. Compared to other types of fish, it is more expensive. Though illegal and unethical, some seafood markets may substitute it for a less expensive fish.
Grouper is a white-fleshed fish that is lean and has a meaty texture. There are no intermuscular bones. The flavor is similar to chicken and doesn't contain much of a fishy taste. Keep this in mind as you shop for fresh grouper.
The FDACS recommends looking for fish that has firm flesh and smells like sea breeze. When fresh, the whole fish should be shiny with tightly adhered skills. It should have pink or deep red gills, along with a shiny belly that has no cuts or protruding bones. Steaks and fillets should be translucent looking without discoloration and firm.
Best Way to Cook Grouper
While you can find many fried grouper recipes, the added fat takes away much of the health benefit. This means baked grouper, or cooking it in the oven, is the better way to go.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says most seafood needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees fFahrenheit. The fish is done when the flesh is clear and flakes easily with a fork.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange your grouper steaks or fillets in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly brush each side with olive oil. This fish is low in fat, so it will dry out quickly without the olive oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and other seasonings. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes with a fork.
You can make baked grouper from frozen, too. All you need to do is remove the frozen fish from the packaging and rinse it under cold water to remove ice crystals. Then bake as normal according to the directions of your recipe.
If you'd rather not bake grouper from frozen, you can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. If you don't have that kind of time available, the FDA recommends sealing it in a plastic bag and submerging the bag in water. If the fish is to be consumed immediately, you can also defrost it in the microwave until the fish is pliable, but still icy.
Read more: 4 Disadvantages of a Pescatarian Diet
Health Benefits of Eating Grouper
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central, a 3-ounce serving of raw grouper contains 78 calories, 16.5 grams of protein, less than one gram of fat and 45 milligrams of sodium. As a high-protein, low-fat food, grouper offers many benefits.
A March 2017 study published in Nutrients showed that lean fish consumption is associated with beneficial changes in metabolic syndrome components. Though fatty fish consumption is also good for health, it seems that in particular, lean fish consumption has the greatest impact on metabolic syndrome components.
Lean fish consumption was associated with increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels, decreased triglycerides and decreased future metabolic score. In men only, it helped to decrease blood pressure and waist circumference. Fatty fish consumption, on the other hand, was associated with increased waist circumference for both men and women, and increased HDL cholesterol in men only.
Because fried grouper recipes add a great deal more fat, if you get tired of baked grouper, you can also steam it or grill it. Ultimately, the best way to cook grouper is the way that ensures you'll eat it as part of a healthy diet.
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: "Grouper"
- U.S Food and Drug Administration: "Selecting and Serving Fresh and Frozen Seafood Safely"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central: "Fish, Grouper, Mixed Species, Raw"
- Nutrients: "Lean Fish Consumption Is Associated with Beneficial Changes in the Metabolic Syndrome Components: A 13-Year Follow-Up Study from the Norwegian Tromsø Study"