Cashew-Crusted Grouper with Braised Fennel Recipe

From Daniel's Dish: Cashew-Crusted Grouper

Styled by: Erin Swift; Photo: Kate Sears

Cashew-Crusted Grouper


• 1 ruby red grapefruit
• ½ cup unsalted whole cashews
• 1 stick (¼ lb.) unsalted butter, softened, extra as needed
• ½ cup fine dry white bread crumbs
• 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
• ? cup cilantro, chopped, leaves for garnish
• 1½ lb. black grouper filet, skin off
• Salt and ground white pepper to taste


Using a microplane zester, grate the peel of the grapefruit, then squeeze out the juice and set it aside. In a food processor, combine the zest with the cashews, butter, bread crumbs, pepper flakes, and cilantro; purée until very well combined and deep green in color, then season with salt to taste. Scoop the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper laid out on a flat surface. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper, then use a rolling pin to flatten into a ¼"-thick sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, until firm. Meanwhile, prepare Braised Fennel and Grapefruit Sauce Vierge (recipes below). Preheat broiler and place rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread with a thin layer of butter. Slice the fish into 6 portions. Season the pieces on all sides with salt and pepper and place them on the baking sheet. Remove paper from the cashew mixture and cut 6 fish-size pieces; press each onto the surface of a piece of fish. Broil until the crust is browned and the fish is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. If the crust browns before the fish is done, turn off the oven and move the tray to the bottom rack to finish cooking. Once cooked, lightly drizzle the grouper with the reserved grapefruit juice. Place each piece of grouper on a bed of braised fennel on a warm dinner plate. Drizzle plate with sauce vierge and garnish with cilantro. Serves 6.

Braised Fennel


• 2 bulbs fennel, cut into ¼-inch-thick wedges, leaves discarded and stalks reserved
• 1 sachet (1 tsp. each black peppercorn and fennel seeds, 1 thyme sprig, and 1 bay leaf, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with butcher's twine)
• 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 T butter
• Salt to taste


In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients with a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until fennel is tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze
(about 12 minutes). Discard the sachet; check seasoning, and keep warm until ready to serve.

Grapefruit Sauce Vierge


• Zest and segments of 1 ruby red grapefruit
• Zest and segments of 1 lime
• ? cup fennel stalks, finely chopped (from reserved trimmings in Braised Fennel recipe, above)
• 1 shallot, peeled and minced
• ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
• Tabasco sauce to taste
• Salt and ground white pepper to taste
• 3 T chopped cilantro


Dice the grapefruit and lime segments. In a medium bowl, combine diced fruit and zest, fennel, shallot, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with Tabasco sauce, salt, and pepper. Cover and chill, or serve at room temperature. Toss with cilantro before serving.

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