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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mérou - Grouper. Grouper, the Fish, on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Updated June 2018
The Dusky Grouper 
The groupers on French mainland menus will nearly always be one of three members of the family. The White Grouper, the Dusky Grouper or the Mottled Grouper. 
In the South of France the dusky grouper, which is found all over the Mediterranean, is the most likely family member to be on the menu. However, the individual family members names are rarely on the menu as, when cooked, their size, taste and texture are very similar with firm, mild, white flesh. Grouper will be on the menu as a filet, a steak, grilled or fried, or baked and served with a sauce. 
Mérou Bronze,  Mérou  Blanc or Thiof –  The white grouper is caught in the Eastern Atlantic and the Southern Mediterranean.
It may be more expensive than a restaurant; 
however, in France, you may hire a boat and catch your own.
Mérou Noir - The dusky grouper; sometimes called the dusky sea perch. This is the most common grouper in the Mediterranean. This grouper is found all over the Mediterranean, the Eastern Atlantic and in the Indian Ocean.
Mérou Royal, Badèche Rouge – The Mottled Grouper or Comb Grouper; prepared in a similar manner to the white and dusky grouper. Caught in the Eastern Atlantic.
The Mottled Grouper.
Grouper on French Menus:

Bourride de Lotte et de Mérou Provenance’s famous garlicky monkfish soup/stew made with plenty of aioli, the garlicky mayonnaise that is so popular along the whole of France's Mediterranean coast. Here, to the traditional monkfish, called Lotte in French and Baudroie in Provencal, has been added grouper.

with black truffle spaetzel.
Carpaccio de Mérou Avec Crevettes, Sauce aux Fruits de la Passion et Mouse de Pommes De Terre – A grouper Carpaccio served with shrimp, a sauce made from passion fruits and a potato mousse.
Croustillant de Filet de Mérou en Chemise d' Algue Japonaise A crispy filet of grouper cooked inside Japanese seaweed.  Since France grows lots of seaweed for export to Japan, and with increasing demand for its home market, the seaweed chosen could be one of many. The seaweed most often used with sushi is called nori in Japanese and it is grown in France under its French name porphyre. Also, the French grow Fougère de Mer, that is the Japanese Wakamé seaweed and they also the Varech,  Kelp in English, all are exported and sold locally. Now is the time to check your waiter’s knowledge and find out which seaweed is being used with this dish. Do not ignore seaweed, like other vegetables there are many tastes and textures, and in this dish they will make a very interesting change.
Escalope de Mérou au Citron – A cutlet, meaning a filet, of grouper served flavored with lemon.
Squash, basil, sweet onions, cherry tomatoes, and dill-lemon beurre blanc
Filet de Mérou Braisé au Gingembre – A braised filet of grouper flavored with ginger.
Filet de Mérou au Fenouil et Oignons Rouges Marinés, Riz. A Filet of grouper prepared with fennel, marinated red onions and served with rice.

Filet de Mérou Mariné et Cuit Au Four, Pomme de Terre Braisée Avec de la Sauce Crémeuse aux Coquillages -  A filet of marinated grouper baked in the oven and served with braised potatoes and a creamy sauce made from shrimps and other crustaceans.
Dusky Grouper
Photograph courtesy of Philippe Guillaume
Filet de Mérou Poêllé à la Concassée de Tomate aux Courgettes et Poivrons Rouges.  – Lightly fried filet of grouper prepared with courgettes, zucchini in the USA, and sweet red peppers.
Tartare de Mérou et Espadon Fumé – A Tartar prepared with grouper and smoked swordfish.
None of these grouper will be anything like the giant grouper seen on National Geographic.  The giant grouper from the Indian Ocean and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Grouper has been landed at over 400 kgs (880 lbs), but the groupers on your menu will rarely be over 10 kilos (22 lbs).

The White Grouper in the languages of France’s neighbors:
 (Catalan - anfós blanc), (Dutch-  witte zaagbaars ),  (German – zackenbarsch), (Italian -  cernia bronzina,  cernia bianca), (Spanish – cherna, cerna de ley).

The Dusky Grouper in the languages of France’s neighbors:
(Catalan – mero), (German - riesen-zackenbarsch), (Italian – cernia, cernia bruna),  (Spanish – mero, mero moreno).
The Mottled Grouper in the languages of France’s neighbors:
(Catalan - mero rosat),   (Germany - gefleckter zackenbarsch, roter zackenbarsch), (Italy - cernia rossa), (Spanish – cuna negra).
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Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
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