Barramundi

with Coconut-Lemongrass Sauce

Barramundi Fish

Barramundi Fish

Adapted from “Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges” by Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Serves 4

For Crust:

  • 2T unsalted butter
  • 2 fresh red Thai chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ lemongrass stalk, trimmed to inner stalk and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 C bread crumbs (preferably Panko)
  • 2T fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 2T fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 2T fresh Thai basil leaves, minced

For Fish:

  • 2T unsalted butter
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ C fresh lemongrass (inner stalks), finely chopped
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 C dry white wine
  • ½ C coconut milk
  • 1 T + 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • Four 6 oz. boneless Barramundi fillets
  • Salt (preferably fine sea salt)
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Method:

To Make the Crust Mix: Put half the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the chilies, lemongrass, garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the bread crumbs and remaining butter to the mixture and sauté until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 4 minutes. When the mixture has cooled, mix in the mint, cilantro and basil.

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Melt 1 T of the butter in a large deep ovenproof skillet that can later be covered over medium heat. Add the shallots, ginger, chili, lemongrass, lime leaves and salt to taste and cook until shallots are softened. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Then add the wine and bring to a boil.

Cover the skillet and transfer to the oven. Poach the fish until a knife can pierce through the meat easily (about 10–15 minutes). Remove from the oven and switch oven to broil.

Transfer the fish to a baking sheet and top each fillet with a thick layer of the crust mix and small nuggets of the remaining tablespoon of butter. Crisp under the broiler just until the bread crumbs color, 1–2 minutes. Lightly season with salt to taste.

To finish, put the skillet with the remaining liquid over medium heat and add the coconut milk. Cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with lime juice and the nam pla. Place fillets on a plate and spoon sauce all around.  Serve immediately.

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