Baked Grouper with Herbs over Polenta

A half hour dish that tastes like a lot of fussing!

I love making a little fuss on Friday nights, a celebration of the beginning of the weekend! My sister usually comes over, sometimes we invite a couple of friends too. While it is great to begin with a feast, sometimes we’re a little tired if we’ve been really busy. This recipe doesn’t require fuss, but it certainly looks and tastes like it does. It comes together quickly, and finish time from start to finish is determined not by the star of the dish, the fish, but by how long it takes to cook the polenta.

Try something a little different

            My local fish monger suggested some just-in grouper on a recent Friday night. Not a fish I see often in our markets, so I thought I’d give it a try. He said I would not be disappointed, and I wasn’t. The filets were relatively small as grouper goes, and they were sweet and tender.

Substitutions

            If you can’t find grouper, you can substitute any number of firm white fish. Halibut would be a great substitute, as would catfish. The fish will release lots of its juices to the pan which you will use as the finish sauce. So delicious!

A Friday night ritual

            Tuck the fish in the oven and set the polenta on to simmer. Take a few minutes to put on some great music, dig out the best dishes, light a candle, and pour a glass of something delicious. You deserve it!

Baked Grouper with Herbs over Polenta

  • 2 Grouper filets, about a pound
  • 2 tbsp. fruity olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C.), and drizzle the olive oil evenly on the bottom.

            Mix together the garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pat the filets dry, then sprinkle both sides with the spice mixture. 

            Place in the pan, top with the cherry tomatoes, and drizzle the wine around the sides of the pan.

            Bake until the fish is tender, check at 20 minutes. A knife inserted in the thickest part will offer no resistance.

            While the grouper is cooking, prepare your polenta according to the package directions, or follow my recipe using the cornmeal sitting on your shelf. You can also use grits, rice, or another favorite grain.

            When the fish is done, rest it on the polenta and drizzle the sauce from the pan over all. Dot with a few fresh herbs.

Just out of the oven, you’ll want to dig your fork right in, but let it rest a minute or two!

Basic Polenta

If you have some cornmeal on the shelf, you have polenta waitings, although we called it corn meal mush when I was a kid in New England.

In a large saucepan, bring one quart of water, fish or vegetable stock to a boil. Sprinkle in 1 cup medium stone-ground cornmeal, a little at a time, whisking all the while so it does not clump. 

Once all the cornmeal is whisked in, reduce the heat and whisk every now and then to keep it from sticking. This will take around 20-30 minutes to cook, more or less, depending on the variety and coarseness of grind. If it starts to get too thick before it is cooked (smoother in texture) add a bit of water. Taste for salt.

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52 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful seafood dish. Love the polenta.

    1. Thank you Jovina! We all loved it!

  2. Nancy says:

    I want to come to Friday nights at your house! This sounds delicious! I pinned it as it will remind me to buy some grouper or halibut very soon! And my Mom called it Cornmeal Mush as well!
    Happy Tuesday Dorothy!

    1. You can come over any Friday night you like! Always an empty chair at the table!

  3. Ann T says:

    This sounds delicious. Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  4. Suzassippi says:

    Love this! It is eye-appealing, and easy. I also wish I had a local fish monger, but it is Mississippi. Only once was corn meal mush served when I was growing up–Mom was out of oatmeal one morning and she had to make do. The kids were not impressed, but as an adult, I love polenta. I will be adding this one to the new line-up!

    1. Thank you! Did I mention it is also a really healthful dish?

      1. Suzassippi says:

        I almost added I will be adding to the healthful line-up, but with you, that goes without saying and I love that!

      2. Ah! Thanks so much! I do try to mix good for us and good tasting.

  5. Gail says:

    You certainly know how to offer a mouth-watering meal. I’m jelly. 😍🍃😋💦

  6. Ronit says:

    My kind of dish! Love the flavors, and the combination, not to mention the relaxed preparation. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ronit! I love the ease of this, and of course the taste first and foremost!

  7. NativeNM says:

    This looks delicious! I love any seafood dish with polenta.

    1. Thank you Jan. I agree, the polenta really pairs well with the seafood. 💕

  8. petespringerauthor says:

    I was introduced to polenta when I married my wife. Her grandmother was Swiss Italian and loved making traditional dishes from where she grew up.

    1. It is such a versatile starch, with nothing but possibilities!

  9. nancyc says:

    Sounds delicious! This is making me want to make my own polenta! 🙂

  10. I love your seasonings Dorothy. I don’t know how you can make me want to taste this when I am not a fish eater, however, I would definitely try this!

    1. Oh, I think even those who are not fish fans would love this one! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Nancy Richy says:

    Great-looking new recipe to try with some of my husband’s fresh caught fish. Something grand for a lovely Saturday dinner!

    1. Perfect! How lucky to have a fisherman husband! Mine seldom goes fishing, but he’s pretty good at taking instructions at the fish market!

      1. Nancy Richy says:

        LOL!! My husband goes fishing every Saturday with his best friend and twin brother. He’s been fishing all his life and often bring home his catch – nicely cleaned and ready to cook, too. I draw the line at cleaning fish!

      2. Me too! Although I used to clean them when I was a kid!

  12. Chef Mimi says:

    This looks fabulous!

    1. Thank you! It was a big hit!

  13. Christy B says:

    Grouper! Now there’s one I don’t see everyday. Often we shop salmon and trout. Sounds terrific!

    1. Thank you! I have seldom cooked grouper, but this was so sweet and tender, we’ll look for it again.

  14. Delicious Dorothy.. we can get halibut here so will use that… thanks for the recipe..♥

    1. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! 💕

      1. I am sure we will Dorothy..hugsx

  15. Jessica says:

    Hi, new here. I love grouper. We always get it from a seafood market when we go on vacation. The next vacation, I need to bring along this recipe. Sounds so great!

    1. Thanks Jessica, and welcome to my kitchen! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

      1. Jessica says:

        You’re welcome. And, thank you!

  16. CarolCooks2 says:

    Thank you for the recipe…fish is my favourite protein…not really made polenta often its never really been on my radar much but I think I need to and the juices from the tomatoes etc should all make for a lovely tasting meal 🙂

  17. That looks amazing, Dorothy. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Thank you for stopping by! We loved both the flavor and the ease of this dish.

      1. I’m always looking for creative ideas for fish. 🙂 Thank you!

      2. Always glad to oblige!

  18. Michael says:

    That’s so yummy! Thanks for sharing, Dorothy,and have a beautiful weekend! xx Michael

    1. You have a lovely weekend too! Here, we are in a heat wave, so I’m trying to stay cool!

  19. Gorgeous! I like your Friday night ritual 😉

    1. Celebrate every moment!

  20. Nice flavors for the baked fish. Your polenta looks very liquid/creamy.

    1. It actually came out a little too loose, I was finishing off a sack of cornmeal and didn’t cut back on the water quite enough (nope, I didn’t measure exactly…), but it was delicious anyway!

    1. Thank you for reposting this recipe! We all love it, and it is really quick and easy.

  21. TaMara says:

    Love grouper. Good fish is so difficult to get here, but luckily, I’m east enough to wow family and friends with this recipe on my next visit. Sounds delish, super easy!

    1. Thank you TaMara! That’s what I love about this dish. It is really quick and easy, but is stunning in appearance and flavor. You get to spend more time with your guests!

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