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Grouper Basilico e Olio

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!

Grouper Basilico e Olio

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.

Grouper Basilico e Olio

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.

Grouper Basilico e Olio

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.

Grouper Basilico e Olio

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 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, 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.

Grouper Basilico e Olio

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



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Healthy World Cuisine (HWC) Magazine is committed to provide a lifestyle traveling culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients, easy recipe preparation and culinary enjoyment. READ MORE...

Grouper Basilico e Olio

By HWC Magazine  , , , , , , ,   

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


white fish - 2 pounds (grouper, mahi mahi, tilapia, cod or any white fish you like) please note I am feeding hungry teenagers so adjust your amount to normal adult portions.

tomatoes - 3/4 cup sliced tomatoes of choice (I used Malaysian cherry tomatoes but use whatever you like such as heirloom, roma, etc)

potatoes - 6 white potatoes and sweet potatoes sliced in 1/4 inch slices (omit this if low carb/diabetic friendly)

olive oil - drizzle for top of potatoes about 1 tablespoon

tuscan seasoning - 1 teaspoon (mixture of roasted garlic, bell peppers, rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley and dried lemon)

green onions - optional (garnish)

Caramelised Onion Basil pesto

basil - large bunch fresh (about 1 cup rough chopped)

flat parsley - small bunch

garlic - 2 cloves

onion - 1 small chopped and caramelised on stove top with a little olive oil

salt and pepper - to taste

tuscan seasoning - 1 teaspoon (mixture of roasted garlic, bell peppers, rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley and dried lemon)

olive oil - 1/4 cup (just enough to pull ingredients together in the blender and can mix with part water if watching fat intake)

Breadcrumb Topping

panko breadcrumbs - 3/4 cup

salami - 1/4 cup chopped

tuscan seasoning - 1 teaspoon (mixture of roasted garlic, bell peppers, rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley and dried lemon)

olive oil - 3 tablespoons (Or just until the breadcrumbs become slightly moist)

salt and pepper - to taste


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.


  • I feel you. My five year old daughter feels the same way with fish unless it’s fried, then she would eat it. i love this recipe1 It looks really flavorful.

  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker

    This sounds delicious Bobbi! I love fish of any kind so I know I’ll love this. 🙂 Congrats to you on 25th wedding anniversary! And here to many more!!! Have a lovely week. 🙂

  • I love this recipe. You’ve combined so many interesting elements and if your boys are gobbling it up, that’s always a bonus, lol.
    Happy Anniversary, Bobbi! Are you doing something special? Twenty-five years is a lot to celebrate! Hugs!

  • Sneaky… but inventive 🙂

  • Eha

    My warmest congratulations on your silver anniversary, if that is what it is still called 🙂 ! These days almost a marital miracle to reach!!! Hope your soulmate has thought of a wonderful way to celebrate 🙂 ! Hmm, am laughing: one would not think 1/4 cup of salami would make such a difference to the behavioral patterns of two young men at the dinner table, but glad it did!! Great recipe: am trying myself, possibly even more Chgo John’s way and I promise to look at it in an appreciative way and clean my plate without rolling my eyes etc . . . DO have a fab time!!!!!!

  • That sounds so good–what a unique recipe! The caramelized onion basil pesto sounds great!

  • Happy anniversary Bam! 25 years!! What a milestone! Congratulations and here’s to another wonderful 25 years. 🙂 I had to laugh reading your post. I made salmon for dinner last night. Miss A protested rather loudly as did Mr. N. What makes me laugh is that Mr. N always protests about fish, but then eats it up. Not five minutes into dinner he asked for more! I’m sure they would love your teenage version of this dish. What a great idea to include salami! Congrats again and enjoy. 🙂

  • What a creative solution for getting teens to eat fish! And it looks divinely delicious, too. That pesto is making me salivate. 🙂

  • Salami … brilliant! Now that my boys are older, I enjoy telling them some of my “secrets” that they never caught. My oldest once told me that the only green food that man was meant to eat … was green M&M’s … I still laugh at that one … nice try, didn’t work 😉

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hello Brenda, boys will be boys. My eldest son sent me a picture of what he was making himself for dinner and the caption read. “Look mom I’m eating vegetables”. He took a picture of a huge sandwich layered up with ham, salami, cheeses and one itsy bitsy slice of iceburg lettuce. I guess that does fall in the vegetable category… LOL

  • Congrats on your anniversary! Here’s looking at another 25+++ years! Great recipes. My mom rarely cooked fish, and when she did it was either fish sticks or dry, overcooked fish. So growing up I never liked it. Now it’s one of my favorite foods, and you’ve prepared a wonderful feast! No need to disguise any of this for me – I’m salivating at the thought of this terrific meal!

  • Happy Anniversary, here’s to the next 25 years! Love the way you’ve hidden the green healthy things in this dish, Bam! Mine is the spinach curry and spinach flatbread paratha, we just call it a green curry with potatoes and green chapati! The colors and flavors on this grouper are sensational…and not to mention the flaky taste with basil and olive oil:)

  • Preety good combo bams, sounds earthy and damn healty too!
    btw, i’m facing a kinda same issue with my niece too this days, sometimes i hope that she stills a baby and eat everything that i’ve made….hehehe

  • So – I was definitely one of those kids that couldn’t stand fish…little did I know I was allergic, as I found out when I was in middle school. Even the smell of it really causes me to be ill. So glad though that you were able to get your kids to eat this!!

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    Congratulations on 25 years and still in love. That fish looks perfectly cooked.

  • Happy anniversary BAM. We celebrated our 25 a couple of weeks ago. Time flys. I love your trickery with the fish. I used different tactics on mine over the years. They now love most fish.

  • Happy Anniversary! Congratulations not only on a long and loving marriage but also being a clever cook. Salami instead of parsley…smarter than the average cook dealing with teenagers. 🙂

  • Buona notte! Happy 25th Anniversary, BAM. I have to admit I got a good chuckle envisioning your boys “fainting” upon learning you’ve prepared fish for dinner. And the Oscar goes to … Too funny! Great idea subbing salami for the green in the breading. I’ve yet to meet a boy of any age that didn’t like salami and, as far as your Sons are concerned, their love for salami outweighed their dislike of fish. Way to go, Mom! 🙂
    Thanks you, BAM, for mentioning both of our recipes. Zia will get a kick hearing that you replaced parsley with salami. I know I did. 🙂

  • This recipe is so unique and I love that!! Happy anniversary to you!!

  • Thats a nice looking fish dish! Happy Anniversary to you. I am impressed 25 years, woot woot! Wishing you more anniversaries to come!

  • Wow your fish with basil looks delicious and healthy!

  • Tasty looking grouper!

  • Jo

    LOL teenagers! Your fish looks lovely! Happy Anniversary! 25 years is like 100 this day and age…good on ya! xo

  • Hey, when you have choices, why not pick the yummiest one 😉 especially when fish looks like yours!!! Yumm 🙂

  • Those boys are so cute. They really know how to pick. hahaha…..I’m just so lucky that my kids still like most greens (they love all kinds of vegetable and especially love broccoli, I have weird kids!) Your grouper are lovely. I like that you made two different version to suit the teens and grown ups. I found myself do something similar especially when I make spicy dishes. I can’t wait to try these succulent groupers. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Love the Tuscan dressing 🙂

  • Guess what, I’ve just bookmarked your recipe because I know I’m gonna need it to feed my teenager all the right stuff that his/her body needs. (The cake is not baking in the oven yet) LOL !

    Congratulations on your anniversary. Wishing you centuries of happiness, peace and prosper.

  • oh my gosh that pesto sounds delicious, awesome recipe!

  • Hahah… kids are truly such picky eaters! My little one won’t eat any type of meat. I have tried chicken, beef, fish and even soy but he just won’t open his mouth and he’s only 1. I can’t imagine how much pickier he will get as he grows up…lol :S

    But, i will gladly eat your fish any day even though I avoid fish….heheheh

  • Now that is absolutely beautiful! I just can’t get over how lovely your presentation always is & vivid the colors in all of your dishes. It makes the food so very appealing. I love both versions & have my own “boy” who I have to hide healthy green stuff from so I guess they never do grow out of it. As for you son & his friend, they’re good, really experts and it didn’t take me long to guess which choice of sides they’d pick. Did you and your neighbor coordinate the fish to sort of box them in?
    Happy Anniversary to you, that’s wonderful.

  • What a super dish, two sefood recipes in a row, I am in heaven and craving a delicious fish dish. I also have a garden full of pesto bushes 🙂

  • My mouth is watering just thinking of all of the flavor packed into this lovely dish!!

  • Well, I came to do a little camping, smell the good food, and even have a snack or two, but you don’t have LIKE buttons anymore and the rating system isn’t working right. Most of the time when I clicked on the rating it refused to acknowledge me: “Failed to verify referrer.” Oh, well, I still had a good time.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thanks for stopping on by.I always love looking at all of your photos. I moved from a wordpress site to my own hosted website awhile ago so I do not have wordpress “like buttons” anymore but so glad to have you comment and stop on by. In order to rate the recipe you have to be logged in first. I just tested the rating system and it seems to be working for me now so maybe it was just hiccup. Looking forward to keeping in touch. Take care, BAM

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