Barramundi is a tricksy fish that’s notoriously difficult to catch. It’s ironic then that the biggest ever caught was wrestled into a kayak back in 2010, weighing a hefty 44kg. Aussies call them barras but this ancient hermaphrodite that starts life as a male and settles into womanhood soon after, is known as Asian sea bass or giant sea perch elsewhere in the world.
Like me, barras love the tropics, and mangroves. It’s a tribute to their sheer cunning just how few fishing tales end with a barramundi on the barbecue. Most star only as ‘the one that got away’, so when you finally land a barra, treat it to a recipe you’ll remember for years to come.
You can cook them anyway you like – grilled, chargrilled, barbecued, steamed or fried – just turn the heat down to medium and cook your barramundi gently. If you like this recipe and there’s still more barra left to cook, try our Bamboo Barramundi, a crowd pleasing recipe from our latest creation, The Hunter and The Gatherer.
Written by liveaboard sailors for all ocean-loving foodies, it’s packed with tips for humanely and sustainably harvesting seafood, fishing, spearing, foraging shorelines, and creating delicious, simple, healthful meals that will make you the most self-sufficient sailor you can be.
Our oceans and coastlines are such a rich source of food, and tapping into this can really empower us with an immense sense of freedom. If you dream of stepping a little further away from the supermarket-led food chain, take control of where your food comes from and get your copy now.
The Hunter and The Gatherer is packed with 160 recipes, available at good bookstores and online at wildtravelstory.com, and mailed with plastic-free packaging.
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Charred Lemon Barramundi with chimichurri
Serves 4, gluten-free
4 barramundi fillets (about 200g each)
2 bunches asparagus
1 large lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt & pepper
½ cup finely chopped parsley leaves
¼ cup finely chopped oregano leaves
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
For the chimichurri: finely chop the herbs, and combine with garlic, chill and oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Add the vinegar just before serving.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and slice the lemon. Heat a chargrill pan or your barbecue grill to high. Combine the garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a small tray. Barbecue the lemon slices until charred (1-2 minutes), then set aside. Dip the asparagus in the garlic oil and grill them, turning occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Place with the lemon slices and season with salt and pepper.
Season the barramundi fillets generously with salt and pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes, turn and cook another 4-3 minutes. Rest, then serve with the grilled asparagus and lemon, and a drizzle of chimichurri.