As a native ingredient, paperbark has a distinct and delicious smoky flavour that is fantastic with meaty barramundi just thrown on some hot coals. When the perfect ingredients are found all around us, there’s no wonder barbecues are a national pastime.
- 1.8 kg barramundi, cleaned
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 6 spring onions, white part thinly sliced, greens reserved
- 3 lemons, 1 sliced
- 1 bunch dill, coarsely chopped, stems reserved
- 1 large sheet paperbark (see Note)
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 cups picked saltbush (see Note) or baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 200 g (1 cup) jasmine rice, rinsed, drained
- 200 g (1 cup) Australian wild rice (or Thai red rice), soaked in cold water for 40 minutes, drained
- 750 ml (3 cups) water
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.
To prepare the fish, pat dry well with paper towel. Drizzle the fish inside and outside with oil and season with salt. Stuff the fish cavity with the green parts of the spring onion. Add the lemon slices and dill stems. Wrap the fish in the paperbark, then tie up with string or wrap well with foil to enclose.
Heat a hot plate or barbecue on medium heat. Cook the fish for 15 minutes each side.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the garlic and sliced white parts of the spring onions for 2 minutes until slightly softened. Add the saltbush, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the oil. Season with salt. Add the water, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, and cover with a lid. Cook the rice for 15 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, and keep covered for 10 minutes. Stir in most of the dill and squeeze in some lemon juice.
Carefully unwrap the fish and remove skin. Divide rice among bowls and top with the barramundi and remaining dill. Serve with lemon wedges.
• You can purchase saltbush and paperbark from native food shops.