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How To Cook Wild Australian Barramundi?

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We tried this fish for the first time at home, a special purchase from Costco, frozen skinless fillets. They had a nice, sweet, mild flavor, but for some reason they were somewhat tough, and not very flaky although they appeared by color/translucence to be cooked through. Maybe it was just coincidence, but the largest fillet was the toughest, the smallest the flakiest. My cooking method wasn't anything off the wall: I simply browned them a little in some olive oil, then added a cup or so of marinara sauce with some olives & capers, a splash of white wine, and simmered a few minutes to heat through and blend flavors. It's hard for me to imagine that I overcooked the fish, as the total cooking time was no more than 10 min on med heat and would have been perfect for something like Atlantic cod steaks or grouper. Is it possible that the fish needs to be cooked much longer than I'm accustomed to for a white, mild fish? Or that it should actually be slightly undercooked, as I think salmon should be? We really enjoyed the flavor and I would love to know what (if anything) I did wrong, or if wild barramundi has some particularities that I don't know about (since I don't know anything about it at all!) I'd appreciate your suggestions. *kim*

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  1. I have some in the freezer also, but have yet to cook them. I checked with an Australian friend of mine and she says they flour and saute the filets lightly and serve with a squeeze of lemon. Very simple preparation she claims is the best.

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    1. re: anni

      Thanks, Anni. Your friend's comments are very much in line with what I've read online: that barramundi is a mild, delicately sweet fish, and very tasty. I agree with the tasty part, I just can't figure out why the fillets I had were so tough. I did read today that barramundi can live to be 20 years old (wow), but that the older ones don't make for good eating, as they can be tough as old shoe leather." I wonder if I just got Grandpa Barramundi?! ;-) Well, I've got 3 or for more fillets to play with, so maybe it'll just be trial and error. Thanks for your help-- *kim*

    2. We had barramundi last night and it wasn't tough, it was soft, but didn't taste that spectacular. I think we should've prepared them by flouring them and sauteing them in butter like Anni suggested. I'll have to convince the hubby to give them another chance.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sibaik

        Sibaik, I know it's been months since you posted this but I hope you managed to convince your husband to give barramundi a second chance! I saw this thread when I was preparing to cook it for the first time, and I have to say it was SO delicious...much more so than I was expecting.

        Following Anni's suggestion, I lightly floured both sides of the fish, making sure the flour was well-seasoned with sea salt and fresh pepper. After allowing the fish to come to room temperature, I heated a cast iron skillet with a combination of EVOO and a sliver of butter, and placed the fish in, half covering it with a lid and resisted the urge to move the fish till a nice crust had formed on the bottom. Flipped it over and cooked it quickly, then served it with a simple rocket salad with cherry tomatoes dressed in EVOO and fresh lemon juice (lemon juice over the cooked fish as well).

        It worked an absolute treat, and was the fastest, most delicious fish that I've made in a while!

      2. The only time I eat barramundi is in fish sandwiches.

        Coat the barramundi filets with a mixture of mayo and mustard then coat in panko (or regular breadcrumbs), fry about 3-4 minutes per side, turning once.

        Serve on french baguette with some aoili, tomatoes, and grilled onions, or whatever accoutrements tickles your fancy.

        1. There's an outstanding recipe for barramundi in "Sunday Suppers at Lucques." In essence, you season the fillets with lemon zest, thyme and parsley and refrigerate for four hours.Season the fish with s&p and saute in EVOO about three minutes per side. Goin suggests serving the fish with vegetables bagna cauda, so you serve the fish on top of the vegetables, sprinkle with lemon juice, top with the bagna cauda and sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over all. Great dish.