For this dish Luke visited a barramundi farm where the fish are fed soy meal making it sustainable.
- 2 pieces barramundi, skin on (about 150 g each)
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 6 winged beans, washed and trimmed
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 50 g pomelo segments
- 8 strands sea grapes (see note)
- coriander leaves, to serve
- long red chilli, finely chopped, to serve
Burnt fish sauce butter
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) fish sauce
- 2 cm piece ginger, finely sliced
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) lime juice
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.
1. For the burnt fish sauce butter, place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until brown and nutty. Turn off the heat, then stir in the fish sauce, ginger and spring onion. Be careful as the butter may bubble, so make sure your saucepan is big enough.
Stir in the lime juice and keep warm.
2. Make 2 long cuts into the skin of each barramundi fillet and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a drizzle of oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the barramundi, skin-side down and cook for 3 minutes. Turn and cook for another 3 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Add another drizzle of oil to the pan and cook the garlic for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the winged beans and cook for 1 minute on each side. Add the fish sauce and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Divide the winged beans between the serving plates and top with the barramundi. Pour 2 tablespoons of burnt fish sauce butter over each fish, then carefully add the segmented pomelo on top of the skin and garnish with the chilli, coriander and sea grapes.
Sea grapes are a type of aquatic vegetable that owes its name to its grape-like appearance. The tiny “grapes” are much prized, particularly in Japan for the refreshing burst of salty freshness and the pleasing pop when you eat them. Available from select fishmongers.
Catch Luke Nguyen on the tracks dishing up Vietnamese fare in the brand-new series, Luke Nguyen's Railway Vietnam.