• Barramundi with wine-braised calamari and black rice (The Chefs' Line)

You'll immediately be transported to Greece with each mouthful - and the make or break of this dish is that perfectly cooked seafood. The Chefs' Line 






Skill level

Average: 1 (1 vote)


  • 1.5 kg whole barramundi, cleaned
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 20 g butter

Black rice spanerkorizo

  • 200 g black rice
  • ½ bunch nettles, picked and washed
  • Cretan extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 g baby onions (about the size of a marble), peeled
  • 20 g caster sugar
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar

Barramundi sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 banana shallots, chopped 
  • 100 ml port
  • 1 litre chicken stock

Nettle puree

  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches nettles, picked and washed
  • 1 bunch English spinach, picked and washed
  • 20 g butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Burnt onion dressing

  • 1 white onion, peeled
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 100 ml Cretan olive oil

Red wine poached calamari

  • 300 ml red wine
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 300 g baby calamari, cleaned and cut into thin rings

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the black rice, place the rice in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover well. Simmer over medium heat until tender, then drain well and spread out onto a tray to air dry. Blanch the nettles in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and refresh in iced water. Once cooled, drain the nettles, squeeze out the excess water and coarsely chop.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the baby onions and cook, tossing regularly until golden. Sprinkle over the sugar and cook until caramelised. Add the red wine vinegar and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, fillet the barramundi and cut into 4 generous pieces. Reserve the bones and trimmings and refrigerate the fillets until ready to serve.

For the barramundi sauce, heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the reserved fish bones and trimmings and cook until browned. Transfer to a large saucepan. Add another drizzle of oil to the frying pan and cook the vegetables over high heat until golden. Add the port, bring to the boil, then pour into the pan with the fish bones. Add the chicken stock and reserved calamari braising liquid. Bring to the boil, skim off any impurities and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Strain through a fine sieve and check the seasoning.

For the nettle puree, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Increase the heat to high, then add the nettles and spinach and toss until wilted. Transfer to a high speed blender and blitz until smooth. Add the butter and season to taste, then blitz until well combined. Pour the puree onto a tray, cover and refrigerate until chilled.

For the burnt onion dressing, cut the top off the peeled white onion and place, cut-side down in a dry frying pan. Cook until the cut-side is blackened. Slice off the burnt end and continue to blacken the cut side until you reach the onion root. You should be left with burnt onion rings. Place the onion rings in a high speed blender with the vinegar and oil and blitz until smooth and well combined. Set aside.

For the wine-braised calamari, place the wine, carrot, onion and celery in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until reduced by one third. Add the calamari rings, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the calamari is tender. Drain and reserve the braising liquid.

Season the barramundi on both sides. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the barramundi pieces, skin-side down and cook until the skin is golden and crisp. Turn, reduce the heat to low and cook just until the fish is cooked through. Turn again, then add a squeeze of lemon juice and the butter.

While the fish is cooking, heat a drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the rice and cook until slightly crispy. Add the chopped nettles, baby onions and burnt onion dressing. Warm the nettle puree. Place the calamari rings into the barramundi sauce.

To serve, place a large spoonful of black rice on the plates and top with the barramundi. Spoon the nettle puree around the fish and top with the calamari and barramundi sauce and serve immediately.


This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!