A dish inspired by the Fridays of my childhood.
We lived in a little street at the top of very steep hill in Sydney’s northern suburbs. At the bottom of the street was the local fish and chip shop that cooked up the crispiest, freshest fish and the most perfectly fried golden chips. On Fridays we would slip on our flip-flops and race down the hill on a billy-cart made by Dad. We’d reach the bottom and collect our big newspaper-wrapped parcels and cross the road to the beach where we would eat our little hearts out. The hike back up the hill was never fun, especially with a belly-full of potato and a heavy billy-cart to drag back up. It was worth it though.
The ‘fish Fridays’ of today are a bit different the ‘fish Fridays’ of my childhood but they are equally as delicious. This recipe features beautiful walnut and chilli crusted barramundi that is baked in the oven and served alongside noodles with a sweet and salty dressing.
4 x 180g barramundi fillets, skin removed*
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Zest of ½ lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
2 egg whites
2 tsp fish sauce
1 zucchini, peeled into long ribbons
2 handfuls of mixed Asian leaves, for serving
Crispy seaweed, for garnish
For noodle dressing:
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
3 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp honey
½ tsp rice wine vinegar
*If you can’t get your hands on barramundi any other firm white fish fillet can be used
**I used green tea noodles but buckwheat soba, rice noodles, or pasta such as linguine can be used
Preheat oven to 180C
Place the walnuts, chilli flakes, a good pinch of salt and pepper in a mortar. Pound until well broken up but not powdered. Add coriander and lemon zest and mix to combine. Tip the walnut mix out onto a plate. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites with a few teaspoons of fish sauce and a pinch of salt.
Place fillets on a baking tray lined with lightly oiled foil. Pop into the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is golden and flesh of the fish flakes when tested with a fork – cooking time will depend on thickness of fillets.
While the fish is cooking, prepare the dressing and the noodles.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add noodles. Cook according to packet instructions until al dente.
For the noodle dressing, combine the sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, honey, and vinegar in a large bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust to your liking.
Drain pasta and while still hot, add to the bowl of dressing. Add thin ribbons of zucchini and toss.
Divide noodles between four plates, top with fish. Serve with mixed Asian greens and crispy seaweed.