Almond Crusted Barramundi with Spinach and Pickled Onion

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10

Cook Time: 5

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 Australis Barramundi fillets
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds leaf spinach, stemmed
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • 1 large egg white, whisked until frothy
  • Peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pickled Onions (page 400 of Chef Moonen’s book, Fish Without A Doubt)

Preparation

Chef's Note:  Watch your heat with this preparation. The trick is to make a toasty crust without burning the nuts and still cook the fish all the way through. Remember, you can always cook the fish longer on the second side if the nuts brown quickly.

  1. Put the nuts and cayenne into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape out onto a plate. Set aside.
  2. Season the fish with salt and white pepper and let it sit while you cook the spinach.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. When the pan’s hot, add the olive oil and spinach. Season with salt and white pepper.
  5. Sauté the spinach until tender, then scrape it into a colander and let it drain while you cook the fish.
  6. Dredge one side of the barramundi in flour and pat off the excess.
  7. Dip the floured side in the egg white, let the excess drip off, and dredge that side in the nuts, pressing down to make sure they adhere.
  8. Heat two large skillets over medium-high heat.
  9. When the pans are hot, pour in a slick of peanut or vegetable oil and add the fish, crust side down, and the butter—1 tablespoon in each skillet.
  10. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the fish until the crust is browned, with a few dark flecks, 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Turn the fish over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

To plate, make a bed of spinach on four dinner plates. Set the fish on the spinach, crust side up, and top with some pickled onions. Serve right away.

Notes:

Chef Notes About Nut Crusts:
Nuts and fish have a good time together on a plate. Bound to a fillet with a little egg white, a nut crust doesn’t just add flavor and crunch. The fat from the nuts insinuates itself into the fish, giving you a richer feel in your mouth; the dish almost becomes self-basting. You can take the idea for this crust in a lot of directions. The only pitfall, really, is cooking too quickly or using too-thick fillets; in those cases, the nuts will brown before the fish is cooked through.

Some Tips for Improvisation:

  • Pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews—all make great crusts. Walnuts are a bit too oily, and their flavor will overpower most fish.
  • You can either make the crust on one side of the fillet or encase it completely.
  • Spice is nice. Try adding a little of one of the spice mixes (pages 440–442) to the crust mixture. Or you might mince some fresh rosemary and add that.
  • Avoid oily fish like salmon, bluefish, mackerel, swordfish, and tuna.

Recipe Source:

Created by Chef Rick Moonen

RM Seafood - Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV

Visitor Comments

By Meesh on May 9, 2011

I made the fish just the way you have mentioned. It was delicious. Loved the crust! My husband loved it very much! I added something extra. I added 2 cloves of garlic for the crust mixture( i.e for four fillets) and it gave a very nice flavour to it. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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