Pesto is a mouthful of bright holiday deliciousness and if you have never had Miramare’s “Best Grouper with Pesto Sauce,” you are in for a treat that will delight! This week while dining at what used to be Beaufort’s well-kept secret, I ordered this meal and it was unforgettable. The secret is out!
Miramare Italiano, Habersham, Beaufort, South Carolina
https://miramareitaliano.com/. Please be sure to go to their website for the winter menu and all the new items.
This little restaurant is tucked away in the charming village in Habersham and offers up an authentic Italian experience under the direction of Chef Luca, a natural-born and raised Italian from Naples, Italy. Well, it’s a secret no more! Be sure to make a reservation before you decide to come for dinner because often there is a waiting list.
The quality of its restaurants is one of the strictest gauges for a city or town to measure its call to greatness. Miramare Italiano put Habersham and the town of Beaufort on the culinary map the day it opened.
I decided to try this fabulous dish out in my own kitchen and it turned out to be a winner I will want to serve many times again. Here’s how I did it – no doubt a bit more simple than what the chef created, but nonetheless delicious!
I started with the freshest grouper I could find at our local fish market, Sea Eagle on Boundary Street. You can count on them to have the best and the freshest of everything. This is a fish I am very familiar with because my son, Andrew, and his dad would often make trips to the Gulf Stream and bring it back. We’d cook it right on the boat at the dock.
Best Grouper with Pesto Sauce
Inspired by Chef Luca of Miramare
Any firm white fish will work well such as cod or tilapia or red snapper.
2 pounds fresh grouper fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup grated pecorino
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
sea salt and freshly grated black pepper
Preheat the oven’s broiler.
Place grouper fillets on a greased baking tray. Brush them with lemon juice. Ina small bowl, stir together the Pecorino, butter, mayonnaise. salt and pepper. Set aside.
Broil the fillets for 4 to 6 minutes, until they can be flaked with a fork. remove from the oven and spread the cheese mixture on top of the fillets.
Return to the broiler for an additional 30 seconds, or until the topping is browned and bubbly.
Pesto, or pesto alla genovese, is a vibrant, garlicky green sauce that originated in Genoa, Itlay. It can be used on just about everything, from salads to toppings on chicken, fish, or beef. It freezes well.
Traditional pesto is made with garlic, pine nuts or walnuts, basil leaves, salt, and pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano, and extra-virgin olive oil. It is important to use only top-quality ingredients, as the flavors really shine through.
You will need the real-deal imported pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy. Do not simply use domestic Parmesan!!! Authentic always has the name embossed on the rind.
For the nuts, you may use walnuts instead of the more traditional pine nuts, but either one is great. You can also use pecans or almonds, but pine nuts are authentic Italian.
Makes about 10 servings
1/3 cup walnuts
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups fresh basil leaves, gently packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until coarsely chopped, about 10 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper and process until mixture resembles a paste, about 1 minutes.
With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly blended. Add the Parmesan and process a minute more. Use pesto immediately or store in a tightly sealed jar or air-tight plastic container, covered with a thin layer of olive oil. This seals out the air and prevents the pesto from oxidizing, which would turn it an ugly brown color. This keeps in the refrigerator for about one week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Ladle some pesto onto the plate and drizzle a little more over the top of the fish. Delicious.