This Grilled Grouper Sandwich is a culinary masterpiece. The herbal intensity of rosemary bathes the fish in smoke-kissed flames that mingle with Cajun spice and a zesty lemon vinaigrette to create “perfection on a bun.” The crisp bun, crunchy lettuce, vinegary pickled red onion, and creamy rémoulade all combine to redefine the term “fish sandwich” forever.
Sandwiches featuring Louisiana seafood are legendary. Mostly fried, who wouldn’t dive into a Fried Shrimp Po’boy, Oyster Loaf, or a Soft Shell Crab sandwich. But whenever I see the words “grouper” and “sandwich” paired on a menu, I almost always order it. Grouper is one of my favorite of the Gulf finfish varieties, and Louisiana coastal waters are the source for some of the tastiest. Just ask fisherman Lance Nacio.
With his ever-present straw hat to keep the South Louisiana sun at bay, Lance is easy to spot. Lance fishes the Gulf waters out of his dockside home in Montegut, LA, in Terrebonne Parish. A third-generation fisherman, Lance grew up in Lafourche Parish, about an hour outside New Orleans. His family, like others on the bayou, made a living from the land. They shrimped, trapped, and grew much of what they ate in their backyard.
These days, his son David captains the Anna Marie, while his nephew Jake captains the Marissa Jolie, a converted shrimp boat that now brings in gulf finfish. Most fishermen specialize in one seafood product; Lance is diversified with a variety of finfish, including red snapper, tilefish, grouper cheeks, and snapper collar among his catch. All of these products are sold on his website at Anna Marie Shrimp. But if you ask Lance what the tastiest, flakiest Gulf fish is, he is quick to reply, “yellow edge grouper.” According to Lance, from a taste and texture standpoint, it can’t be beaten. I sourced a couple of packs of Lance’s vacuum-packed, flash-frozen grouper fillets with visions of Grilled Grouper Sandwiches in my mind.
Buying Lance’s fish is simple, with just an online search at the Louisiana Direct Seafood website. And for wholesale buyers (restaurants and retailers), Lance’s Anna Marie Shrimp and other suppliers are listed on the Wholesale Seafood page of the Louisiana Direct Seafood website. The page posts product details and contact information for processors and fishermen that sell to the wholesale market. It’s easy. With one click, buyers can connect with Louisiana seafood sources along the coast and determine product availability, minimum quantities, and price.
This Grilled Grouper Sandwich recipe is a cinch to make, but to do it right takes a few steps. For the bun, toasted brioche adds an eggy richness to this sandwich. For a spread, I mix up a simple Creole rémoulade with an extra dose of spicy horseradish. I love to garnish this sandwich with pickled red onion, which is quick and easy to make. And finally, I season my grouper fillets with a light sprinkle of Cajun spice and a brush of lemon vinaigrette. But here’s the kicker: I grill my fish fillets in a wire basket lined with stalks of fresh rosemary. I find that the basket cradles the fish’s fragile flesh, and the rosemary provides a barrier that creates smoke and enormous flavor. Give this method a try.
In this video, take a look at how to make this Grilled Grouper Sandwich as Roxanne, Lo, and I show you step-by-step. And meet Lance Nacio, the fisherman who caught our grouper.
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups quality mayonnaise
- ½ cup Creole mustard or coarse-grain brown mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon ketchup, plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped capers
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely diced green onion tops
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large red onions, peeled and sliced thin
- White distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- 4 (6-ounce) grouper fillets, such as yellow edge grouper
- 2 tablespoons Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 4 stalks of fresh rosemary
- 4 brioche buns
- 4 lettuce leaves
- Potato chips, for serving
- In a mixing bowl, add the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and black pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until an emulsion forms.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, seasoning blend, paprika, lemon juice, and horseradish. Add the ketchup and whisk together. Add more ketchup if needed to achieve a pinkish color.
- Add the garlic, capers, relish, celery, parsley, and green onion. Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
- In a container with a lid, add the sliced onion, vinegar, sugar, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat a gas grill to high.
- Inspect the fillets and remove any pin bones. Brush the fillets with the lemon vinaigrette and sprinkle liberally with Cajun seasoning blend.
- Add the rosemary stalks to a barbecue grill basket (sprayed with non-stick spray) and place the fish fillets on top of each. Close the grill basket.
- Place the basket on top of the hottest part of the grill with the rosemary side down. Let grill for approximately 5 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish) and turn over. Brush the fillets with more of the vinaigrette and watch as the flames shoot up. Grill the fish for another 5 minutes and remove.
- Open the grill basket. Check for doneness with a fork; the flesh should flake easily. Cook longer if needed.
- Move the toasted buns to a cutting board and spoon the rémoulade sauce on the bottom buns. Add a lettuce leaf and top with a portion of the pickled red onions. Add the grilled grouper fillet and close with the top of the bun.
- Serve with potato chips.
This Boat-To-Table series of stories, recipes, and information about our seafood industry is brought to you in support of Louisiana Direct Seafood, a free program of Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU Ag Center.
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alex liberatore says