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Pan Fried Grouper Cheeks in a Citrus Ancho Cream

Grouper Cheeks – When you have them… man, you cook ’em up and eat ’em.

If Grouper is “Florida’s Fish” (pro-tip… it is) then the Groupers cheeks may well be the reason this fish was so anointed in the first place. Firm, succulent and sweet the cheeks offer the best of the best from an already stellar fish.

Pan Fried Grouper Cheeks in Citrus Ancho Cream – Ingredients

The Grouper Cheeks

  • Grouper Cheeks: 1+ pound
  • Ground Ancho Powder (2 Dried Poblano Peppers): 2 Tbsp
  • Pan Oil: 1 Cup
  • Flour: 1 Cup
  • Bread Crumbs: 1 Ccup
  • Eggs (for egg wash): 1-2 Large
  • Salt & Pepper: For the flour – to taste

The Citrus Ancho Cream

  • Poblano Peppers (Ancho): 6, Dried
  • Shallot: 2 Tbsp Chopped
  • Garlic: 1 clove pressed
  • Heavy Cream or Half & Half: 1/2 Cup
  • Orange Juice: 2 Tbsp Fresh Squeezed
  • Lime Juice: 2 Tbsp Fresh Squeezed
  • Lime Zest: 1 Tbsp

Finishing Touches

  • Shallots: Chopped for topping
  • Lime Wedges

Pan Fried Grouper Cheeks in Citrus Ancho Cream: Prep – Cook – Serve

The Citrus Ancho Cream

Rehydrate 6 dried chiles. Place the chiles in a sauce pan with enough water to fully cover and bring to a low boil. Once the water is rolling remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Let the chiles soak for approximately 30 minutes or until they are soft and pliable. Remove and discard the water

When the chiles are full rehydrated, place all of the Citrus Ancho ingredients in a blender/food processor and puree to a nice smooth consistency. Set aside for later.

    The Grouper Cheeks

    Rinse and dry the Cheeks.

    Add the ground Chiles to your bread crumbs and set up your breading “station”

    For each cheek, dredge in the flour then the egg wash and lastly the bread crumbs. Set the breaded cheeks on a rack.

    On the stovetop, bring your oil to medium/medium high heat in your skillet. Turning once, pan fry the cheeks to a light golden brown, in batches. Don’t overload the skillet as it will bring the temperature down and your breading will get “interesting”. Consistent temperature is key to delivering delicious golden brown, tender Grouper cheeks. Each batch will cook 1-2 minutes per side. Set aside for plating.

    To plate the cheeks, drizzle the plate with a generous portion of the Citrus Ancho Cream, place the cheeks on top, drizzle some more cream on the fish and top with a pinch of shallots. As indicated in the images of the final meal, roasted carrots make for a fine addition to this mess of tasty fish.

    Bon Appetit and tight lines.

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