Thursday, April 19, 2012

Olive Oil Poached Barramundi with Insalata Caprese & Balsamic Reduction

Here's a simple Sunday lunch that was a big hit at the crib this weekend...

Barramundi is a wonderfully sustainable fish.  Farm raised in the United States and Australia in fully recirculating systems.  The flesh of the fish is thick and meaty.  I was able to purchase some through my business, however U.S. farm raised Barramundi is readily available on the net.  Find a reputable supplier and have at it.

I decided to use a two-step procedure to cook the fish.  Here's my method...

  • Preheat oven to 190 F.
  • Remove the fish from the fridge.
  • Lightly season with sea salt and allow to sit on a rack to come to room temp.
  • In a rectangular baking dish, add enough olive oil to completely cover the pieces of fish (without actually adding the fish at this point), 4 springs thyme, 2 bay leafs, and a few black peppercorns.
  • Transfer dish to oven for 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld with the oil.
  • Remove dish from oven.
  • Add the pieces of fish.
  • Poach fish for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the fish from the oven to a wire rack.  Allow excess oil to run off.
  • Heat equal parts clarified butter and blended oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
This cooking method produces textural contrast...
  • Tender moist interior.
  • Crusty exterior.
Best of both worlds.

I served the fish with a simple salad of diced plum tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil & a balsamic reduction.

NOTE: When reducing anything, it's better to go low and slow.  Take your time, be patient, reducing at a low temperature takes time but you'll be rewarded with the final product.  Try and reduce something faster at a high temp and you run the risk of burning it.  

Trust me, it happens much faster than you think and once it burns, it's fucked!

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Wow, this is pretty fabulous for a weekend lunch! I can definitely see why it was a big hit. Your cooking method is spot-on and I'll definitely give it a try. Fish is one of my favorite things to experiment with. :)

  2. I love poaching in olive oil. I often add lemon or oranges too. Great idea for crisping skin after cooking. I have to try that!

    Another job bien hecho!

  3. Great fish technique, Laz. I am loving playing with low temp cooking but you do loose that crisp crust (I often superheat a skillet and throw the fish under the broiler... from an old NYT recipe). Now I'll try this method.
    I had an Australian AC on the job and she was dreaming of baramundi... that I've never tried. Seems like the cooking gods are telling me to get some!

  4. I've never seen Barramundi locally, but I'll take your advice and hunt it down on the web. I love how meaty it is. Lovely plate!

  5. Love the technique here Laz...the fish looks fantastic! And love your gorgeous styling here, just beautiful!

  6. i love the technique you used for the fish...definitely need to try that. beautiful meal!

  7. Perfection - oil poaching for the moistness and searing for the crispness ... way to build those layers of texture. Nice!!

  8. I missed this...I tried oil poaching and the taste is out of this world. As usual a beautiful job Laz.

  9. This is how I love fish done. Done to perfection as ever, Laz. I wish you could pass me the plate now! Never had Barramundi, afraid - only the Australian wine version so high time I cultured these taste buds!

  10. That is gorgeous... you are a pro at cooking and presentation... the olive oil poaching sounds fabulous ! :) I've never tasted barramundi, but now I really want to!


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