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Firm White Fish Fillets (Grouper, Tautog, Halibut, or Rockfish) with Butter Cucumber Sauce

Serves 2

Time requirements 25-30 minutes.

What you will need:

12-16 ounces of firm white fish fillet, in two pieces, 1-1¼ inch thick. Thinner fillets, ½ to ¾ inch thick, work too; but cut the cooking time from 8 minutes to 4 minutes for thin fillets.

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper.

2 tablespoons diced cucumber.

1 teaspoon capers (preferably packed in salt).

3 tablespoons white wine.

3 tablespoons cucumber juice.

3 tablespoons butter.

Spray oil.

Wondra flour.

3 warm plates.


First some comments. This recipe calls for white pepper for the appearance of the final sauce. If you do not have it use black pepper. The sauce is about the butter so use a European style butter. To acquire cucumber juice, peel and seed a cucumber. Cut it in half, set one half aside. The other half cut into chunks and puree it in a food processor. Set the cucumber puree in a sieve set over a bowl. The juice will drain into the bowl.

As for the other half of the cucumber, cut some long thin slices off it, line these up and cut across the slices; this will yield diced cucumber.

Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt and white pepper.

Set the fillet on a rack on the counter until you are ready to cook it.

Get everything else measured and ready.

Apply a light coating of spray oil to a 12-inch fry pan. Place the pan over a medium high heat. while the pan heats up sprinkle one side of each fillet with a light coating of Wondra flour. When the oil in the pan begins to brown, turn the heat to medium and add the fillets to the pan floured side down.

Cook the fillets for two minutes. At 2 minutes apply a light dusting of Wondra flour to the top side of the fillets and turn them over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, apply a light dusting of Wondra flour to the top of the fillets and turn it to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Repeat one more time, for a total of 8 minutes of cooking. (The purpose of applying a light coating of Wondra flour is to give the fish some color. Also, the residue flour in the pan will help thicken the sauce to come.)

Remove the fillets to a warm plate and cover with foil.

To the pan add the diced cucumber and capers. Swirl them in the pan for 30 seconds. Add the wine and cucumber juice and deglaze the pan. When these have reduced by half, take the pan off the heat, and add the butter. Swirl it in the pan to melt it and allow it to create a thick sauce.

Divide the fillets between two warm plates and add the sauce around and atop the fillets. Its ready to serve!

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