And now for something other than Southwestern cuisine or Mexican food. As much as we like Mexican food and Southwestern cuisine, it was time for a change and the market had some beautiful Barramundi filets. This is what we cooked.
As is the case with a lot of our dishes, the inspiration for this dish comes from our own little plot of earth. You see, several years ago (3 years to be precise) Baby Lady bought some asparagus crowns. Now, if you know anything about asparagus crowns, you know it takes years and years before you can start harvesting asparagus. You also know that if you let the asparagus grow it produces a gangly, ugly plant. But grow and develop it must. So for the last 2-1/2 years we have had the most hideous looking plants growing on the side of the house. I mean these things are a real eyesore. Recently, however, we have been able to begin harvesting some of these little beauties.
We’re not at the point where we can harvest an entire meal in one picking but we can pick enough in 3 – 4 days to enjoy them in a dish like this one. We simply cut them to the ground, place them in a glass of water and give them additional buddies for a few days until there is enough to eat. Occasionally, however, they don’t make it in the water as they are so tender and fresh I eat them after picking them and rinsing them. Absolutely yummy.
Now with this particular meal, we had the Barramundi and the asparagus so the question was what do we do. Now for those of you who don’t know a lot about Barramundi, Barramundi is a fish found in the coastal waters of Australia. It’s also called Australian Sea Bass. This fish is very versatile with a sweet, mild taste and white, flaky flesh that has been compared to red snapper, Dover sole, sea bass and other premium white fish. It is popular throughout Australia and Asia being particularly popular in Thai cuisine, often eaten steamed with lime and garlic, as well as deep-fried or stir-fried with lemongrass. That’s how versatile this fish is and it’s sustainable, too. Given it’s versatility and asparagus’ wonderful pairing with orange and citrus, this is what we came up with. It was a wonderful meal, easy to fix and we hope you give it a try.
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 orange zested, roughly 2 Tbsp, split
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 3 oranges, supremed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, split, plus additional for brushing pans
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 white onion, sliced thinly
- 1/2 lb asparagus spears, 1/2 inch cut
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 Barramundi fillets, 6 oz each
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp butter, cubed
Add 1-12 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, and 1 Tbsp orange zest in a bowl. Stir to incorporate. Set aside for later use.
Toast fennel seeds in heavy small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and beginning to brown.
Using a spice mill, grind the fennel seeds and black peppercorns with the coarse sea salt.
Place onions, fennel and and remaining 1 Tbsp orange zest in a bowl. Add remaining olive oil and toss to incorporate.
Add asparagus spears, gently toss to coat with oil and spread on a baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast onions, fennel and asparagus on bottom rack until they beginning to soften, roughly 8 minutes.
While the onion, fennel and asparagus is roasting, brush the Barramundi with the garlic, zest, olive oil mix and liberally season with the salt, fennel seed blend.
Oil a baking dish or a large skillet and place the Barramundi in in it skin side down. When the roasting veggies begin to soften stir them and move them to the top rack of the oven and place the Barramundi filets on the bottom rack.
Roast the fish roughly 13 minutes until it is just opaque in center. By now the veggies should be tender and roasted.
Remove the fish from the oven and tent. Remove the veggies and mix with the orange supremes.
Turn oven off and return veggies to oven to stay warm until ready for service.
Now working quickly, deglaze the skillet used for roasting the fish with the white wine and orange juice. Reduce to 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup heavy cream.
Remove skillet from heat and slowly add the cubed butter whisking frequently to emulsify.
Arrange vegetables and orange supremes on a plate.
Pace a Barramundi filet on top of vegetables, add sauce, minced shallots and fennel fronds for garnish. Serve and enjoy.