Barramundi with chorizo lentils recipe

Posted on October 28, 2013

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Whoa the last few posts have been very Asian haven’t they? Looks like I’ve just been running on autopilot working with recipes I’m familiar with rather than trying out new things. Time to inject a bit of diversity into the mix methinks! When it feels like my creativity is a bit on the low side, I tend to turn back to past eats for some inspiration. On this occasion, my memory took me back to the seared barramundi and lentils dish from The Dispensary Enoteca (sorry the below photo isn’t very good, but at least it shows my photography skills are improving somewhat).

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I remember really liking that dish because the flavours were quite well balanced. I also found this dish interesting in that the main protein element (the fish) was comparatively light and delicate while the accompanying lentils served as the heavier part of the meal, packing a real flavour and meaty punch. Bit of a reversal of restaurant conventions. And it looks like a fairly simple dish to replicate at home; grill some fish and cook some chorizo lentils on the side. So here’s my take on it…

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Since the barramundi fillets I had were skin free, I decided to dust them with a bit of flour to mimic the crispy skin of the original dish. Also I felt like I need this crispiness given I didn’t bother to make the pomme frites (potato crisps) that the original dish had. Feel free to skip the flour bit if you have fish fillets with skin on, or if you wanted to adopt a healthier take. The lentils don’t require any seasoning as the chorizo will leach out fat, salts and spice as they are cooked together. The only thing this dish lacks is some greens. To address this you could cook some diced veggies together with the lentils, but I opted to make a side of steamed greens instead; just pop a steamer basket of greens on top of the pot of cooking lentils for about 5 minutes.

I’m pretty pleased with how this recipe turned out, it’s pretty much just the way I remembered the original dish to taste. However, you’ll notice that my replica isn’t quite as moist as the original, so an improvement I would suggest is to cook the lentils in a bit more liquid so that the finished product is more wet and stew like. Either that, or spooning a savory sauce over the cooked lentils could work as well. And aside from that comment, the only sounds my ginuea pig made were grunts of approval in between bites.

RECIPE – Barramundi with chorizo lentils (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 regular sized spicy chorizo (~85g), chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • ~300g barramundi fillets
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds (optional)
  • oil for cooking
  • mayonnaise and lemon wedges to serve

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, saute chopped chorizo on medium heat until it has a crisp golden exterior (you will not need any oil to fry the chorizo as the sausage will release its own oils into the pan as it cooks).IMG_7594
  2. Add lentils and mix to coat lentils with pan juices. Add in water and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking with the lid slightly ajar for ~20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and lentils are tender. (If you are wanting to steam greens to go with the meal, place your steamer basket over the simmering pot in the last 5 or so minutes of cooking.)IMG_7598
  3. While the lentils are cooking, mix plain flour, salt, black pepper and sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Gently dust a light coating of this flour mixture onto fish fillets.IMG_7595
  4. To cook the fish, heat a thin layer of oil on a flat bottom pan until almost smoking. Pan fry fish fillets on medium heat for ~2 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. IMG_7597
  5. To serve, spoon lentils and chorizo mixture onto a plate. Place a couple of fish fillets on top with a dollop of mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon (I was out of lemons, hence their absence in the photos).IMG_7604

Isn’t it funny how some restaurant dishes can seem rather complex because of the way they’ve been described or the way they’re presented, but in reality can be reproduced in our domestic kitchens with minimum fuss? I guess this works in reverse as well, and some of the most simplistic sounding dishes will have the most complex recipes attached to it. Suppose you will never really know how easy or hard a dish is to make until you try to make it yourself. Hope this inspires you to recreate your restaurant favourites or try some of mine ;).

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