Flaky and delicious, the crab-crusted grouper at Drift Kitchen + Bar at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa has always been  a guest favorite. We share the details, ingredients, and recipe here.

When Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa opened its doors back in October 2017, so too did its Drift Kitchen + Bar, an oceanfront eatery serving up delicious Italian and seafood. And if we had to put our money on one particular menu item that has been the most-ordered from day one, it would be the crab-crusted grouper. Not just because of the flaky fish it features (which is a restaurant staple in Florida as much as key lime pie), but for the way it’s prepared – instead of rolling it in breadcrumbs and frying it, as it’s done in many Florida restaurants, this twist utilizes a crabmeat and panko crumb mixture instead. It’s pan-fried and finished it in the oven, then served it with citrus butter sauce. Not to mention, with some basic cooking skills and a trip to your local grocery store, it’s pretty simple to put together, says Michael Volger, executive chef at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa. Here, he outlines the ingredients and recipe needed to recreate this dish at home.

The Recipe


4 7-oz.      grouper fillets, skin on
1 Tbsp.     olive oil
TT             salt and pepper

Citrus Butter Sauce
1                 large shallot, sliced
2 sprigs    thyme
3                black peppercorns
1                 bay leaf
½ c.           white wine
½ c.           orange juice concentrate
1 c.              heavy cream
½ lb.         chilled butter, diced
TT              salt and pepper

Basil Oil
½ lb.        basil
1 c.            blended oil


For the Citrus Butter Sauce
1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine shallots, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, and white wine.
2. Once reduced by half, add orange juice concentrate and heavy cream.
3. Reduce by yet another half, then slowly whisk in chilled butter.
4. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Crab Cake Mix
1. Combine all ingredients – except crabmeat, scallions, and breadcrumbs – in a mixing bowl and mix well.
2. Add crabmeat and scallions, but mix gently to ensure that the mix is not overworked (crabmeat should remain in large pieces and not be mushy).
3. Add breadcrumbs a little at a time to lightly bind the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the Basil Oil
1. Blanch basil in salted boiling water for 2 minutes.
2. Remove from water and shock in a bath of ice water.
3. Squeeze out excess water and place in blender with oil. Blend until smooth.
4. Strain through chinois, then through coffee filter.

For the Grouper
1. Season grouper with salt and pepper
2. In a sauté pan with oil over medium heat, sear both sides of grouper filet.
3. Remove from heat and top with crab cake mixture, then lightly baste with melted butter to keep moist.
4. Place fish in a 350-degree oven and finish cooking until lightly browned.

Putting It All Together
1. Plate the grouper over your choice of cooked vegetables (we suggest carrots, potatoes, and asparagus).
2. Drizzle the citrus butter sauce around the plate, then drizzle the fish with a bit of the basil oil.

Where to Stay Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa