Barramundi with Grape-Herb Pan Sauce

Adapted from For Cod and Country

The simple brining method outlined here brings out the best flavor in the fish. For best results, adhere to the brine mixture and time as written here. Author Barton Seaver warns these times should not be adjusted at the risk of ruining the fish. Times vary for other types of fish (all clearly outlined in the book). The grape-herb pan sauce is a sweet and savory burst of flavor that takes the fish to the next level. I served this with a red rice dish and a side of steamed broccoli. Looking for a wine pairing? Seaver suggests a viogner or chenin blanc.

      • For the fish:
      • 2 cups cold water
      • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
      • 1 tablespoon sugar
      • 4 – 5 oz. barramundi fillets
      • Olive oil
      • For the grape-herb pan sauce:
      • 1 tablespoon butter
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
      • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
      • 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
      • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
      • Kosher salt
      • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (see tips)
      • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Preheat the broiler. Set the rack about 6 inches below the heating element.
  • In a shallow pan, make the brine for the fish by combining the water, salt and sugar. Lay the fillets in the pan. If they are not fully covered, you will need to turn them half way through the brining time. Set a timer for a total of 20 minutes. Drain the fish, pat it dry gently, then set fish on a broiling pan. Rub each fillet lightly with olive oil. Broil for 6 to 7 minutes, watching closely. When the fillets are almost cooked through, remove them from the oven and allow them to sit a few minutes. They will finish cooking while resting on the hot pan during this time.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, warm the butter and olive oil until melted. Add the garlic and onion in a single layer. Allow them to cook without stirring for about 4 minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the grape halves to the pan, toss to incorporate, then allow to cook untouched for another 3 to 4 minutes. The grapes will start to release their purple juices. Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add the herbs and stir gently, as not to break up the delicate grapes too much. Serve the barramundi fillets topped with the grape-herb pan sauce.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Also known as Asian Sea Bass, barramundi is a saltwater fish with grayish-white flesh. Seaver compares it to snapper given its mild, meaty flavor. I found a U.S.-farmed variety in the frozen section at Whole Foods. If you are looking for guidance on choosing sustainable varieties of fish, check out the seafood guide from Blue Ocean Institute.
  • 2. The original recipe called for fresh tarragon, which I would have used had I not killed it in the scorching heat of DC’s summer. Dried is a fine substitute, but I can’t imagine the flavors are as bold.
  • 3. My kids were initially turned off by the onions in the pan sauce, but once they tasted a grape – which is insanely sweet and delicious after the cooking process – they were sold.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

2 responses to “Barramundi with Grape-Herb Pan Sauce”

  1. Sarah Thomas says:

    This was my first weekly green experience and I thoughouly enjoyed it. This recipe was simple and delicious. I loved the sweet and savory flavor combination. I can’t wait to try another recipe. Thanks!

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