Grouper is a -deep–water fish, and hence firm in texture; it is delicious baked. Grouper has its seasonality, so cook it when it’s running, as the fishermen say. You can replace it in this recipe with other white fish, such as cod, striped bass, or halibut. As always, do keep an eye on the cooking time, which will vary with whatever fish you’re using.
- 6 thick grouper fillets, about 2½ pounds total
- 3 tablespoons -extra--virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1½ pounds medium tomatoes (about 3 to 4 tomatoes), sliced to get 12 slices
- ¼ loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
- 1 large lemon, thinly sliced to get 12 slices
- ¼ cup drained tiny capers in brine
- ¼ teaspoon crushed -red--pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, gently toss the grouper with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to oil the bottom of a large baking dish (10 by 15 inches). Scatter the garlic in the bottom of the baking dish. Make two rows of tomato slices, overlapping, along the long sides of the baking dish. Scatter the basil over the top of the tomatoes, and season all with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Put a piece of grouper on top of two tomato slices, and top each fillet with two thin lemon slices. Scatter the capers in the dish, season with the crushed red pepper, and pour in the wine.
Cover with foil, and bake until the pan juices are bubbling, about 15 minutes. Uncover and move the baking dish to the bottom of the oven, to concentrate the juices, until the fish is cooked through, another 15 minutes or so.