Grouper with Tomato Olive Italian Salsa


My husband Alex usually comes home with a pair of dirty boots and, on special occasion, a bottle of my favorite rosé or flowers; but this Monday, he surprisingly  lugged in a bag of fresh okra and just-ripe heirloom tomatoes from a long-time customer. I seized the opportunity to reimagine my fillet of grouper that I had anticipated baking for dinner that evening.

A flash-sauté of garlic, smashed olives, torn basil and chopped tomatoes produced an Italian twist on "salsa," if you will, that would grace the plate of olive-oil poached protein...all in under 30 minutes. Our summer-on-a-plate dinner was delightful. I think you'll find this dish to be, too.

Serves 2

3/4 pound fillet of fresh grouper
2 springs fresh thyme
Olive oil
Sea salt
2 heirloom tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1/2 jar Castelvetrano olives
1 tablespoon fresh basil, torn
Pinch red pepper flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a drizzle of olive oil. Place grouper fillet atop olive oil and drizzle a bit more over the top. Place thyme sprigs and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes, or until opaque and flaky.

2. Meanwhile, heat a teaspoon olive oil and red pepper flakes over medium heat. Add garlic and flash-sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer immediately to a small bowl.

3. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch cubes and add to bowl of garlic. Then, cut olives by placing the flat side of your chef’s knife on top of an olive and pressing your palm down on the knife to release the pit. Chop and add to bowl. Add basil. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

4. Plate grouper atop your favorite vegetable (we used okra!) and spoon tomato olive salsa atop the fillets. Serve immediately.