Ingredient Guide: What Is Barramundi And How To Cook This Fish
Image Credit: Unsplash

With concerns about mercury and other toxins, as well as environmental sustainability, it's difficult to determine what kind of seafood is safe to consume, let alone choosing a delicious and easy-to-cook fish. Fortunately, barramundi is a fish that fits all of the criteria. The white flesh fish is versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Barramundi, also known as Asian sea bass, is a white-fleshed fish with a sweet, mild flavour and firm texture that resembles snapper, grouper, striped bass, and sole. It is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific region of the water and is caught between India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. The term barramundi is derived from the Australian Aboriginal language and means "large-scaled river fish."

Because barramundi spends a portion of their lives in rivers and estuaries, they can live in both freshwater and saltwater. Farmed barramundi can thus be cultivated in ponds, open-net pens, cages, and freshwater tanks placed anywhere. Some farmed barramundi are cultivated in Iowa, over 1,000 miles from the ocean. It is frequently eaten whole, but it can also be filleted.

Cooking With Barramundi

Because of its medium fat level, barramundi can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, roasting, broiling, sautéing, baking, steaming, and frying. Although larger fish are occasionally chopped into steaks, barramundi is typically offered whole and in fillets, both with and without the skin.

Pan-frying barramundi with the skin on is one of the finest methods to prepare it because the skin is thin and crisps up nicely. To begin, pat the fillets dry using a paper towel to ensure crispy skin. With a sharp knife, make a series of shallow cuts in the skin, not deep enough to pierce the flesh. This method of scoring the skin allows the seasonings to permeate and prevents the skin from shrinking and pushing the fillet out of shape while cooking. On both sides, sprinkle both sides with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt.

Heat some oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add the fillet skin-side down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown, then flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Take the fillets off the stove and set them aside for a minute before serving. Because of its medium fat level, it also grills well and is quite forgiving at high heat, making it difficult to overcook.

Barramundi’s Taste

The flavour of barramundi is velvety, buttery, creamy, and sweet. It has meat that is white and medium-firm. It has a flavour and texture similar to sea bass, snapper, and sole.

Barramundi Sustainability

One of the things that makes barramundi so appealing is its long-term vitality. Part of this is due to farmed barramundi eating largely vegetarian diets. Because farmed barramundi does not consume other fish, it is largely devoid of mercury, PCBs, and other toxins. They may also be raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics because they are a resilient species that is resistant to disease.

Barramundi Storage

Frozen barramundi can be stored in the freezer for up to three months until ready to use. Allow defrosting overnight in the refrigerator before cooking and serving. For ideal results, use fresh barramundi as soon as possible after purchase.