Are you in full on summer mode with the holiday weekend ahead? I sure am, and whenever this time of year rolls around all I want to eat is very fresh, flavorful food — cue fish tacos. These aren’t your run-of-the mill fried fish tacos. No, no. Instead, they feature Australis’ sustainably-raised Barramundi — a sweet, mild-flavored (read: kid-friendly!) fish reminiscent of Sea Bass — that’s been lightly coated in oil and brushed with fresh citrus juices then simply broiled.
You could stop there, but combining the slightly caramelized barramundi with a smooth avocado crema has a bit of kick courtesy of some roasted serranos, plus a nice amount of pop from toasted cumin seeds and pepitas, plus crunch from a colorful, sweet-and-sour slaw all wrapped up in a petite homemade corn tortilla turns it into a complete meal and irresistible finger food. And talk about a superfood — barramundi packs only half of the calories of Salmon, yet is still high in Omega-3s (on par with wild Coho Salmon)!
I typically only cook for two people, so I really must give Australis props for individually vacuum-packing their frozen fillets. You just pop however many you need directly from the freezer into a pan filled with cold water, and after fifteen minutes or so they’re defrosted and ready to unwrap, pat dry and cook. This convenience coupled with knowing that they engage in cutting-edge, sustainable aquaculture practices — both domestically and abroad — definitely sets their goods apart in my mind.
Australis recently launched their product for a limited time in Northern California Costco stores — and it’s also available at other retailers nationwide — I highly recommend picking up a pack and giving this or any of these other recipes a try. Check out the Australis Facebook page for updates and news on when and where you can find their barramundi!
Barramundi Fish Tacos with Avocado-Serrano Crema, Toasted Cumin Pepitas and Bicolor Slaw
Preparation Time: 1 – 1/2 hours (including homemade tortillas)
Cooking Time: 3 – 5 minutes (serranos), 5 – 7 minutes (barramundi)
Serves: 3 – 4 as a main course (makes 20 two-bite tacos)
This recipe scales up very easily if you’d like to serve a larger crowd — two-bite tacos make fantastic hors d’oeuvres, and the fish is tasty piping hot or at room temperature! Prefer grilling to broiling? I imagine they’d cook up just as well on the grill, just note that the fish is fairly delicate, so you’ll need to take that into consideration (aka probably cook it atop aluminum foil).
- 4 medium serrano peppers
- 1 large (about 3/4 cup or 170 grams cubed) avocado
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) lime juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Toasted Cumin Pepitas:
- 3 tablespoons (30 grams) pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed, lightly crush
- 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seed, lightly crush (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) lime juice
- 1 teaspoon (7 grams) light agave nectar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 cups (113 grams) thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 cups (113 grams) thinly sliced Napa cabbage
- 1 pound (about 2 large or 3 medium) defrosted Australis barramundi fillets, pat dry
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) refined peanut oil or other neutral-flavored, high smoke point oil
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) lime juice
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) reserved orange juice (below)
- Kosher salt
Tortillas and Finishing Touches:
- 1/2 recipe cooked corn tortillas, use 14 grams (1 tablespoon) dough per tortilla (yields 20) and reheat just before assembling¹
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) crumbled Cotija or Feta cheese (optional)
- 2 Valencia oranges or other small orange or tangerine, supreme² and juice scraps (reserve juice for citrus glaze above)
- Lime wedges
Prepare Avocado Crema:
Arrange oven rack about 6″ below broiler, preheat broiler to high. Line a small, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside. Cut stems from serranos, cut a slit down the length of the peppers (but don’t cut all the way through). Place peppers on prepared baking sheet and broil — turning once — for about 3 – 5 minutes or until skin is blistered in spots. Remove pan from oven (don’t turn off broiler, you’ll need it for the fish!) and transfer roasted peppers to a heatproof bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, discard skin and seeds. Mince peppers and transfer about 2 packed teaspoons (14 grams) to the bowl of a food processor.
Add cubed avocado, lime juice, sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt to the peppers in the food processor. Run machine until mixture is smooth. Season to taste with additional minced peppers, lime juice and/or salt, if desired. Transfer crema to a bowl, or a pastry bag fitted with coupler and desired pastry tip (I used Petal 104); cover with plastic wrap or twist closed, respectively. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
DO AHEAD: Crema may be made up to a day in advance — there’s enough lime juice and sour cream to prevent it from browning. For best flavor, remove from fridge about 30 minutes before plating to take some of the chill off.
Combine pepitas, cumin and fennel seed in a small (about 6″) skillet. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring/shaking pan occasionally, until a pepita or two pop, about 5 minutes. Transfer pepitas and seeds to a small, heatproof plate; set aside.
DO AHEAD: Toasted pepitas may be prepared a day or two in advance. Cool completely, cover and store at room temperature.
Whisk together lime juice, agave and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt in a medium mixing bowl. Just before serving, toss cabbage with sweet-and-sour dressing.
Line a small, rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil; set aside. Cut out 2 – 3 fillet-shaped pieces of parchment paper, equally space on prepared sheet pan (the unexposed portions of a full sheet of parchment will burn under a gas broiler); set aside. Rub barramundi fillets on both sides with a small amount (1/2 – 1 teaspoon each) oil. Combine 1 tablespoon each lime juice and Valencia orange juice (from the supremed citrus scraps) in a small bowl; brush both sides of barramundi with citrus combo, discard leftover juice (very litte, if any).
Arrange fillets atop parchment on the prepared pan. Sprinkle fish with Kosher salt. Set pan under the preheated broiler, and cook just until cooked through and just beginning to caramelize (brown) on top (5 – 7 minutes). Remove fish to paper towel-lined plate, allow to rest for a couple of minutes. With a very sharp knife, cut barramundi fillets against the grain (lengthwise) and pull apart into 20 equal(-ish)-size pieces.
Onto each tortilla, pipe (or dollop) 1/2 tablespoon (7 grams) avocado crema, top with one piece of barramundi, 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons slaw, scant 1/2 teaspoon each toasted pepita mixture and crumbled cotija cheese and 1 orange segment. Repeat with remaining tortillas and toppings. Serve hot or at room temperature with lime wedges!
¹ Prefer not to make your own tortillas? You’re in luck — Guerrero makes some smaller ones that are pretty close in size to homemade. They’re a little tricky to find, but I’ve seen them at a few Smart & Finals in the Silicon Valley area. Or just use 8 – 10 of the standard, six-inch kind for four-bite tacos, no big deal!
DISCLOSURE: I was compensated for this post via the NoshOnIt Publisher Partner Program. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”