At his Charleston, South Carolina, restaurant, The Macintosh, chef Jeremiah Bacon uses hyper-local ingredients. Right now, he's cooking with fresh shipments of 25-pound grouper, which means the kitchen stays busy filleting the mild fish. Pan-seared and paired with parsnip purée and fragrant brown-butter crumble, the dish intensifies the grouper's inherent sweetness. If grouper is unavailable, follow Bacon's lead and use whatever mild, white-fleshed fish is available near you.
Grouper with Parsnip Purée and Brown-Butter Crumble
Recipe adapted from Jeremiah Bacon, The Macintosh, Charleston, SC
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Cook Time: 45 minutes
1 stick unsalted butter
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and diced (about 4 to 5)
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup dry powdered milk
Four 6-ounce skin-on grouper fillets
Ground white pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Make the purée: In a medium saucepot set over medium heat, melt the stick of butter. Add the parsnips and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
2. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully transfer the mixture to a blender. Purée until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pass the purée through a strainer. Set aside.
3. Make the brown-butter crumble: Preheat the oven to 300°. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter. Continue to cook until browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the powdered milk. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined sheet tray and place in the oven. Bake until browned, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, stir the crumble and transfer to paper towels. Set aside.
4. Make the grouper: Season the grouper with salt and white pepper. In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is melted, add the fillets, flesh side down. Use a pastry brush to baste the butter over the fish and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
5. To serve, divide the parsnip purée evenly among four bowls. Top each bowl with one of the grouper fillets. Sprinkle the brown-butter crumble evenly over each grouper fillet. Serve immediately.
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