Cast Iron Grouper with Royal Red Mezcal Ceviche & Lump Crab-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

By Chef Jeremy Downey  |  Seafood: Crab, Fish and Shrimp

What you need


6 oz Grouper filets, butchered

1 slab Benton's Bacon Lardons

4 baby Vidalia Onions, small dice

6-8 Chayote Squash, cubed and seeded

12-16 large Royal Red Shrimp, blanched

1 cucumber, seeded and small dice

1-2 heirloom tomatoes, diced

Juice of 2 satsumas

2 Meyer Lemons

3 Persian Limes

1 each orange, red, and yellow bell pepper, small dice

1 serrano pepper, chopped and seeded

1 shot Mezcal

Fresh jumbo lump crab shallots, chopped and sautéed

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Fresh tarragon, chopped

Lemon juice

Tempura batter

2-3 anchovies

1/2 c. capers

1 small jalapeño

Parsley, chopped

Oregano to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Basil to taste

Garlic to taste

Cilantro to taste

Olive oil



Start with the slab of bacon and dice it into lardons, much like the Vidalia Onion and Chayote Squash. Sauté the bacon in a cast iron skillet, rendering the fat, then add squash and onion until it all becomes semi-soft. Add salt and pepper along the way.


For the ceviche, start boiling 12-16 large Royal Red Shrimp in very salty water. Once the shrimp are poached, peel and devein shrimp, then chop in half and put in a bowl.


Chop 1 large red bell pepper, 1 orange bell pepper, and 1 yellow bell pepper into a small dice, then julienne 1 purple onion and dice 2 large heirloom tomatoes. Put the mix into a bowl.


Start juicing (3 times) 3 lemons with 1 shot of Mezcal, 1 lightly chopped small bunch of cilantro, 1 jalapeño pepper, and salt and pepper. Let mixture sit for an hour.


Stuff the squash blossoms with picked jumbo lump crab meat. (Not too much in each because they are delicate.) Get the cast iron skillet hot and use tempura batter to roll the squash around in, then put them in the cast iron skillet and fry them on each side while rolling them around.


Sear 2-3 6oz Grouper filets in a hot cast iron skillet with olive oil, adding salt and pepper to each filet before adding to the skillet.


For the salsa verde, combine 2 anchovies, 1 cup capers, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 bunch basil, 1 bunch parsley, 1 cup olive oil, and 1 squeezed lemon in a blender. Blend until all forms a sauce or paste.


Assemble the plate by putting the salsa verde on the bottom. Use a spoon and paint the plate, or use the back of the spoon and push forward. Put the squash mixture down on top of the salsa verde, then add the fish on top of both. Finish by spooning shrimp ceviche on top of the fish next and finally the squash blossom.

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