This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy
This Mediterranean-Style Grouper with Blistered Tomatoes is super easy, full of flavour and requires only a few ingredients. It cooks in less than 15 minutes, can be served with a wide variety of side dishes and is Whole30 compliant. It’s also open to a number of easy substitutions, making it a versatile option for any night of the week.
What You Need for the Mediterranean-Style Grouper
- Grouper: I portion around 6-ounces of grouper per person. If using frozen grouper filets, make sure they are fully defrosted before cooking.
- Cherry Tomatoes: The idea here is to get a little blister on the tomatoes so they get more juicy and tender. You can substitute chopped fresh tomatoes, but the texture will be a bit different.
- Shallots: Some finely diced shallot will add some flavour to the tomatoes.
- Garlic: As always, measure this ingredient with your heart and never let anyone tell you there’s such a thing as too much. In this case, my heart told me 2 cloves.
- Seafood Broth: For best results, try to use a homemade seafood broth or fish broth. If you don’t have homemade, you can purchase seafood broth in stores but most of them are made with white wine, so be mindful of ingredients if you’re doing a round of Whole30. Speaking of, you can also substitute white wine if you would like something a bit more indulgent.
- Dry Oregano: Just a pinch of dry oregano is all you need here to add some depth of flavour.
- Capers: You want to use capers packed in brine for this recipe. I also like to add some of the brining liquid for a bit more acidity.
- Lemon: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice will add some much needed acidity to this Mediterranean-style grouper dish.
- Fresh Parsley: For a pop of colour and flavour, finish the blistered tomatoes with a bit of finely chopped fresh parsley.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: It wouldn’t really be a Mediterranean-style dish without the use of good quality extra-virgin olive oil. Since we’re cooking the fish over a low and gentle heat, there is no concern for cooking with olive oil as long as it is a true, extra-virgin product.
- Butter: This is optional, but I like to also add a small amount of butter to the pan. Not only does it give the grouper a delicious flavour, but it also allows me to baste the fish with the melted butter as it cooks. This helps infuse even more flavour into the fish. For Whole30, you can substitute ghee.
Can I Substitute Other Fish?
I used a local, wild-caught Florida grouper here, which was incredibly delicious. Grouper has a meaty, firm and neutral-flavoured flesh, making it a great option for seafood lovers and picky eaters. It’s also very easy to cook because it doesn’t fall apart on you, like cod, for example. If you can’t find grouper near you, you can easily substitute it for a variety of other fish or seafood.
- Snapper: Snapper is a versatile fish with a mild, slightly sweet flavour and a firm texture.
- Sea Bass: Both Chilean sea bass and other varieties of sea bass have a firm texture and a mild, buttery flavour.
- Halibut: Halibut is a lean fish with a firm texture and a clean, mild taste. While it might be more expensive than some other options, it’s a good substitute in recipes that feature grouper.
- Cod: Cod is a popular white fish with a mild flavour and a flaky texture. It’s a bit more delicate, so be a bit more attentive when it comes time to flipping the filets in the pan.
- Mahi-Mahi: Mahi-mahi, also known as dolphinfish, has a firm texture and a mild, sweet flavour. It’s a good substitute in recipes that require grouper.
- Scallops: If you want to substitute shellfish, you can try using scallops instead of grouper.
- Shrimp: Shrimp would also work beautifully in this recipe.
When substituting one fish for another, keep in mind that the thickness and size of the fillets or steaks may vary, so adjust cooking times accordingly. Additionally, keep sustainability in mind when choosing fish and try to purchase responsibly sourced options.
Can I Use Chicken?
Not a fan of fish or seafood? Make this recipe with chicken instead. To keep a similar cooking time, use boneless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts. They will cook quickly and fully in the pan without needing to roast them in the oven.
How to Prepare the Mediterranean-Style Grouper
- Prepare the Grouper:
- Pat the grouper fillets dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. This helps achieve a crispy sear.
- Season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.
- Heat the Pan:
- Place a non-stick or stainless-steel skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter, or ghee for Whole30, and heat until the butter has melted.
- Sear the Grouper:
- Once the oil or butter is hot, carefully add the grouper fillets to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the fish is opaque and easily flakes with a fork. The exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillets.
- Prepare the Blistered Tomatoes:
- Remove the grouper from the pan, transfer it to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Wipe the pan clean and add some olive oil.
- Add the tomatoes and cook until lightly blistered. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan with seafood stock and add the lemon juice, capers and oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until the broth has reduced by 1/4 in volume. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as desired.
- Add the chopped fresh parsley and pour the sauce over the grouper filets. Serve with sautéed vegetables, potatoes or rice.
Mediterranean-Style Grouper with Blistered Tomatoes – Whole30
- 2 6- ounce grouper filets, deboned and skinless
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra, as needed
- 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter, substitute ghee for Whole30
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup seafood broth, substitute white wine for a more indulgent option
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon capers packed in brine, with 1 teaspoon of the brining liquid
- ¼ teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- Pat the grouper filets very dry with paper towel. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and massage to coat. Lightly season both sides of each filet with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a stainless-steel or non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter or ghee. Heat until the butter has melted. Carefully add the fish to the pan and cook, undisturbed until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side of the filets until golden brown and the thickest part of the fish is opaque and flaky, around 3 more minutes. Transfer the fish to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Wipe the pan clean and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have lightly blistered, around 2 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the seafood broth, lemon juice, capers and oregano and cook, stirring, until the liquid has reduced by ¼ in volume, around 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Add the parsley and stir through to combine.
- Pour the tomatoes overtop of the fish, drizzle over a small amount of olive oil, and serve with sautéed vegetables, potatoes or rice.