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Author Notes: Tender barramundi fillets get seared until crisp, then doused with a bight and tangy vinaigrette. Recipe by Nicole Gaffney (ColeyCooks.com). Vinaigrette inspired by David Chang.
—Coley @ Coley Cooks
- 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar OR unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 2-4 red Thai chiles, minced (remove seeds for less heat) OR 2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh Thai basil (optional)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or enough to coat the pan)
- 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless Barramundi fillets
- salt, for seasoning
- Combine the fish sauce, water, sugar, vinegar, chiles and garlic in a bowl and mix until the sugar is dissolved, then set aside until you’re ready to cook the fish.. This vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and chilled. When ready to cook the fish, add the cilantro and Thai basil to the vinaigrette and stir to combine.
- Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet (well-seasoned cast iron works best) over medium-high heat. Use paper towels to pat the barramundi fillets very dry, being sure to remove as much moisture as possible. Season both sides with salt.
- When the oil is shimmering and almost smoking, gently place two fillets in the pan. Allow to cook in the hot oil without moving for about 3 minutes. The fish will be ready to flip when it easily releases from the pan. If it sticks, it’s not ready. Lower the heat and give it another minute. Use a fish spatula to gently flip the fillets and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer to a serving plate and repeat with remaining fillets.
- Top each fillet with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette and more herbs if desired. Serve immediately with plain steamed rice and your choice of vegetables.