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Barramundi: The New Sustainable Fish?

We all know the great health benefits of eating fish, but sometimes the environmental risks of purchasing unsustainable fish outweigh those benefits. The solution?  Barramundi.  It’s a great tasting, easy-to-prepare fish that’s high in omega-3′s and environmentally-friendly.

Barramundi is a member of the sea bass family and a native to Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. It’s relatively new in U.S. markets and is becoming a hot fish in the restaurant industry due to its versatility in cooking and sustainable reputation. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has rated it a “Best Choice” for purchasing due to its sustainability. They have provided these guidelines to consumers for purchasing:

Best Choices: Purchase barramundi caught in the U.S., which are farmed in fully recirculating systems. Australian-caught is another good alternative.

Avoid: Check the label when purchasing, and avoid those imported from Indo-Pacific areas, as these tend to be farmed in open systems. Fish farmed in recirculating systems eliminates the risk of disease transfer and pollution.

Common Names: Asian sea bass,  barramundi perch, giant perch, palmer, silver barramundi, nairfish

Barramundi are high in omega-3s, providing  600-800 mg per 5 oz serving, which is comparable to some varieties of salmon (and uncommon in most other varieties of white fish).  Barramundi has a sweet, buttery flavor, with a firm, moist texture and large flakes. If you tend to avoid salmon because of its sometimes “fishy” flavor, give barramundi a try! Try it grilled, baked or pan-seared. It goes great with a variety of sauces or spices. Here is a simple and tasty recipe adapted from www.thebetterfish.com.

Recipe: Barramundi with Lemon Butter (Fresh Start Nutrition)

Barramundi with Lemon Butter

Ingredients

  • 4 Barramundi fillets
  • 2 tsp olive/canola oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh or bottled lemon juice
  • A handful of chopped, fresh basil
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Saute the garlic in butter for about a minute, until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice and basil.
  3. Add the salt to taste and remove from the heat, reserving the sauce in a separate dish.
  4. Coat the fillets with olive or canola oil. Using the same pan, set the heat to high and cook on the first side for three minutes.
  5. Flip and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes, or until cooked throughout.
  6. Spoon the lemon butter sauce over the fillets on a serving dish.

This dish would also pair well with some added olives or capers, diced tomatoes or other blend of fresh herbs. Try grilling it with some fresh vegetables or use it in your favorite fish taco recipe.

This was a guest post by Judi Giordano, an aspiring dietitian and culinary graduate.  Stay tuned for more of her upcoming posts on quick and delicious meal ideas, shopping tips, and fresh, eco-friendly alternatives.

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