For grouper, you go to Florida.
On vacation recently I met a couple of these other fish that you won't find on the Mucky Duck's chalkboard, or any other bar menu for that matter, and I have to say they were every bit as personable as the grouper. Luckily I had my boy with me, because he's the one who made the introductions. I could only dredge up one hapless catfish after another, while the kid hooked a whole aquarium of warm-water swimmers in the mangrove-shaded back bays of Naples. We ended up keeping a couple of black drums and a nice sheepshead.
Planter's Punch, along with handfuls of Cape Cod potato chips and mixed cocktail nuts, plus a dash of Old Bay seasoning and some salt. Voila. A perfectly acceptable dry batter. Next I cut up the fillets into sandwich-sized portions, egged them, and rolled in the batter before frying in ample butter and finishing with a generous squeeze of lemon. The rest of the sandwich is academic: a fairly soft French roll or poppy-seed bun, shredded lettuce, and thinly sliced tomato. We also whipped up a batch of homemade tartar sauce with mayo and chopped pickle.
I wonder how many Florida natives would have discerned the truth about my homemade "grouper" sandwich. And how many reputable establishments are serving "grouper" with the fry cook's catch on his day off? If I lived in southwest Florida I'd definitely be one of those guys you curse at while driving the obstacle course that is the Tamiami Trail, one of those guys fishing from a bridge abutment on an already narrow two-lane blacktop lined with traffic hazards like birdwatchers, panther crossing signs, and orchid thieves.
Florida may be overloaded with white shoes and blue hair, but it's paradise for grouper groupies.