4 or more thick bacon slices (preferably smoked), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided
4 medium onions, halved and sliced
4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
5 thyme sprigs plus 2 teaspoons leaves
1 1/2 lb grouper or similar fillets (2 inches thick)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 450ºF with rack in middle.
Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and add 3 tablespoons butter to bacon fat in skillet.
Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme sprigs, and salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
Discard thyme sprigs.
Put fish in a lightly oiled shallow baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper. Dot with remaining tablespoon butter and roast until just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Crumble bacon into onion mixture and stir in zest and thyme leaves. Serve each portion of fish topped with a couple tablespoons of onion compote and serve remainder on the side.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Tidal Fish, 8673 Commerce Drive, Suite 4, Easton, Maryland 21601