Grouper Basilico e Olio
How do you hide the green healthy things from your family?
Not only did I need to hide some green healthy things, I was also planning on serving fish for dinner. Fish is like a teenager worst nightmare. Unless fish is battered up and deep-fried and unrecognisable as something with fins they are not going to fall for it. Actually, I know an adult like this, and if you are reading this right now those were not deep-fried battered onion rings but instead that was calamari... Got ya!
However, I wanted to make something a little more heart healthy. I also needed to adjust the recipe slightly to be gluten-free and diabetic friendly for the rest of the crew, while keeping my picky teenagers happy. I found the perfect way to make the whole family happy with two kinds of special baked grouper. I made a delicious baked grouper with basilico e olio topping with tomatoes and Italian seasoning for the adults.
For the picky teenagers, I also used the delicious basilico e olio topping for the baked grouper but also made a tasty layer of toasted salami breadcrumbs to seal in the juices.
Kids are very aware of taste, textures and aromas. Kids are also aware of spotting anything that has fins from a mile away. This reminds me of a story. When my youngest boy was about 7 years old, his best friend lived 3 houses down and they used to play with each other every minute of the day they were not at school or sleeping. Both the boys were playing outside and it was around dinner time so I asked if he wanted to stay for dinner.
The next question was "What's for dinner mom?" I said "Fish". The boys both began to roll their eyes and make funny faces and said they would be back in a minute. Then the boys proceeded to walk three doors down to the other little boys house and asked his mom (my dear friend), "Mom whats for dinner?" she replied, "Fish". Then the boys asked her, "Well what are you planning to serve on the sides with the fish?" My dear friend said, " broccoli". Two minutes later both boys were back on my doorstep asking me, " What sides are you planning to serve with the fish?" I told them, " potatoes and corn on the cob". Both the boys looked at me, smiled, and said they planned on staying at my house for dinner tonight. You have to love that! Selective reasoning at such a young age.
I knew I needed to camouflage my fish. I consulted my dear friend John, from Bartolini Kitchens to conquer this teenage dilemma. His last recipe for his baked haddock http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2013/06/05/baked-haddock/ had me thinking about how I could get my teenagers to eat fish. I liked the fact that his fish was baked. My teenagers loved his recipe for http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2011/09/28/spaghetti-aglio-e-olio/, so I was hoping that this same topping for the fish might do the trick. However, I noticed that he added quite a bit of visual "green" parsley in the mix. As you know teenagers have an aversion to anything that looks like a vegetable so I opted to exchange parsley for one of my teenagers favourite food groups- salami.
There were not a lot of words said at the dinner table that night. However, all of them licked their plates clean so that is always a good sign. Usually, fish has them turning up their noses and making the gagging noises while holding their throat. Sometimes when I serve them fish, they pretend to faint on the floor. There was none of the usual drama so this was a good sign. I think we have a winner fish dish.
Today, I am celebrating 25 years of marital bliss with my dearest husband and soul mate. I will catch up with all with you very soon. Take care
Grouper Basilico e Olio
July 2, 2013
Baked grouper with basilico e olio topping with tomatoes and Italian seasoning and a tasty layer of toasted salami breadcrumbs to seal in the juices.
- Cook: 45 mins
- Yields: 4 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager
Caramelised Onion Basil pesto
1Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees F.
2Make the basil pesto: Chop onions and add a little oil to a pan and cook onions slowly until they become caramelised and sweet. In a blender or food processor, add the caramelised onions, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and tuscan seasoning. Slowly add oil (water) until pesto turns into a nice paste. Set aside. You can make this up to 3 days in advance. If you are really running short on time you can use the jarred pesto and I won't tell a soul. I just make my own homemade as this way I can make it lactose free and can control the amount of oil I use.
3Prepare the Breadcrumb topping:(Omit this step and go straight to step 4 if you want a gluten free or cardiac friendly option. Omit steps 4 and 5, if you want a diabetic friendly version) Place salami, Tuscan seasoning in a food processor and pulse until mixture is small in size. In a small frying pan, add the salami mixture and breadcrumbs and fry until lightly toasted. Add olive oil just until the breadcrumbs have become slightly moist but not soggy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. You can make this up to 3 days in advance.
4Omit this step if you want a diabetic friendly version. In a baking pan, layer aluminium foil and spray with oil spray just to make for easy cleanup. Place sliced potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. I used both sweet and white skinned potatoes. Drizzle potatoes with a little olive oil and Tuscan seasoning and bake in oven for about 20 minutes until fork tender. Remove pan with baked potatoes out of the oven.
5Place the whitefish on top of the potatoes. If you are going for the diabetic/low carb version just omit the potato step and spray the bottom of your pan with a little spray oil to prevent sticking and place the fish in the pan. Place a few spoonfuls of the basil pesto on top of fish and use back of your spoon to spread it evenly.
6Gluten free/cardiac friendly/diabetic friendly version: slice the tomatoes and green onions and place on top of the fish with pesto and bake for about 10-15 minutes depending of size of fish or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
7Teenager friendly version: Place a layer of breadcrumbs strategically over the fish to hide any green basil pesto and try to camouflage to the best of your ability that this indeed a fish that had fins. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your filets or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
8Serve your delicious Grouper Basilico e Olio with a lovely salad and dinner is served. This is a great dish to serve when hosting a gathering as you make all the toppings in advance, you can adjust for dietary needs of each of your guest and it is cooked in less than 30 minutes.