Epinephelus morio; Mycteroperca bonaci
Red grouper; black grouper, gag
Groupers belong to one of the largest and most widely distributed families of fish, the sea basses. Red grouper (Epinephelus morio) is the most frequently seen grouper in the marketplace and is valued for its availability, flavor and size. Because of limited commercial supplies of the true black grouper (Mycteroperca spp.), it has largely been replaced by the gag (M. micro-lepis), which offers similar edibility and value. Some processors call gag “the grouper of choice,” since it offers better yield and firmer meat. It is referred to in the market as black grouper. Market size for black grouper is around 20 pounds, and red grouper is marketed at anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds. Groupers are found in temperate waters from the Mid-Atlantic states and Florida to South America, Central America and the Gulf of Mexico. Groupers are typically caught by hook and line.
Groupers have a mild but distinct flavor, somewhere between bass and halibut. The taste of most groupers is similar, with slight differences in flavor and texture, depending on size, species and location of harvest. Red grouper is sweeter and milder than black grouper, and many consider reds the better of the two.Once the skin is removed from the fish, it’s hard to tell red and black grouper apart, but black grouper does have firmer meat in the fresh state. The raw meat of both is white and lean with a notable lack of bones. Cooked, the white meat has a very firm texture and heavy flake and remains moist.
In the South, blackened grouper is a favorite preparation, but this versatile fish can be fried, grilled, skewered or used in chowders and soups. Larger whole grouper can be roasted, and large fillets should be butterflied before grilling because of their thickness. Grouper is very forgiving; it can be overcooked and still remain moist.
Sea bass, Dogfish, Mahimahi