Lemon Roasted Grouper

4 6-oz grouper fillets, skin off
2 oz lemon juice
2 oz lemon-infused olive oil
2 lemons, each thinly sliced into 12 even rounds
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed, stems peeled, blanched and cut into
2-inch batons
1 fennel bulb, cut into batons and caramelized until soft
12 ounce teardrop tomatoes, halved
¼ ounce basil, washed and ripped
¼ ounce mint, washed
6 ounce peas, blanched
3-6 ounce champagne
pinch of cayenne
pinch of Sugar, as needed
sea salt and white pepper to taste  

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

2. Place the grouper in a medium bowl and pour the lemon juice on top. Season each side of the fillets evenly with salt and pepper and fold over several times so the fillets are well seasoned and evenly coated in the lemon juice. Periodically turn the fish over so each side is marinated evenly before cooking. Fish can marinate from one hour up to 12 hours.

3. While the fish is marinating, add blanched peas, salt, pepper, a few leaves of mint and a splash of champagne into the bell of the blender. Blend on high speed for at least 20 seconds to create a smooth green pea purée. Once the purée is finished, pour it off and reserve for plating (this can be done a few hours in advance).

4. Place the 4 pieces of grouper evenly on a medium size sheet pan leaving room in between the fillets so they cook evenly. Lay a piece of fresh thyme across the top of the fillets and shingle 3 pieces of thinly sliced lemon across the top to evenly cover the fish. In the spaces between and around the fish, arrange the asparagus, fennel and fresh tomatoes and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the sheet pan into the hot oven and roast the fish at 400 F for 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Once cooked, remove from the oven to your work surface.

5. Arrange the vegetable medley in the center of four hot entrée plates and add ripped basil and herbs to the top. Place the fish on top of the vegetables and gently slide the lemon off the top of the fish to use as a garnish. The hot fish and vegetables will start to steam the herbs. Brush on the lemon-infused olive oil so the fish is shiny on all sides. Spoon any leftover lemon oil around each plate as an added garnish. Next spoon the green pea purée around the plates attractively. Fennel fronds can be used as garnish to intensify the freshness of the dish.  

Serves 4

Note: Pairs nicely with remaining champagne; a rich, buttery California chardonnay, or a delicious white burgundy.


A native of Ferndale, Washington Chef Tory McPhail was lured to the mystique of New Orleans at age 19. Under the wing of Executive Chef Jamie Shannon, he worked diligently through all 12 stations of the kitchen to hone his craft before venturing out to restaurants in Palm Beach, London and Las Vegas. In 2002, he returned “home” to Commander’s and has since won numerous local and national awards.