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Grouper with Clams, Crispy Gnocchi and Garlic Toast

(Serves 2)

8 ounces potato gnocchi
18 to 20 littleneck or middleneck clams
2 (6-ounce) grouper fillets, or similar white fish
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
4 slices Italian bread, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Cook gnocchi in boiling salted water until they rise to the top, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and set the gnocchi aside.

Cook the clams in a covered saucepan in 1 cup of water until they open.  Transfer the clams to a plate.  Reserve the cooking liquid.  Strain the liquid through a fine sieve if there are any particles in it.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter; combine with garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.  Brush the butter mixture on both sides of the grouper. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sprinkle the top with paprika. Place fillets on a baking sheet; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil; season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, turning the slices over once during baking time.  Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F.

Place the baking sheet with the fish fillets in the oven for 10 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to lightly brown the top.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet over medium-high  heat.  Add the cooked gnocchi and saute for 3-4 minutes to brown them slightly.  Transfer to a plate.

In the same skillet, add the minced shallot and garlic; saute for 1 minute.  Add the white wine and reserved water from cooking the clams.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half.  Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. 

Use a fork to mash together the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir the flour mixture into the sauce to thicken it.

For each serving:
Place one of the grouper fillets in the middle of a shallow bowl.
Add 8 to 10 of the cooked clams around each fillet. Then distribute the crispy gnocchi around each fillet. Top each serving with some of the lemon-butter sauce and sprinkle with some chopped parsley. Serve with the slices of garlic toast.
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This is a dish that I created after having something similar at a local seafood restaurant.  There are a number of steps involved but the result is an outstanding and unique dish. 
If you choose not to use grouper, you can substitute any white-fleshed fish with a firm texture and large flake, such as cod, halibut or sea bass.  It's wonderful with fresh, homemade gnocchi but you can use dry, vacuum packed or refrigerated gnocchi as well. 
If you purchase "skillet gnocchi" in the refrigerated section of your market, you can skip the cooking step and simply saute the gnocchi in butter. 
This six-bottle set showcases the quintessential white varietals of the premier wine producing regions of the world. These wines exemplify the signature grape varieties of their respective regions.

Makes a great gift!