If there were a time for an official, adoring goodbye to summer flavors, I think this would be it.
Bjork spent last weekend doing the official Fall Clean Up in preparation for winter, and I’ve been spending more and more time inside, working on my Fall Sweater Bod with new fall and winter soups, breads, and other cozy things. The days are still oscillating between WAS THAT A SNOWFLAKE? to WHY DID I PUT MY T-SHIRTS AWAY?, and even though it’s getting dark earlier and earlier, there are moments where you could step outside and almost feel like it’s June.
But the fall-to-winter switch is really happening, and all of this gives me the image of us collective food lovers standing on the edge of a huge ship, waving to our summer favorites – the tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, green beans, and corn – as we set sail for winter. It’s been real, friends! Thank you for the fresh flavors and juicy bites! We’ll be in touch!
Not to say that we can’t break out the canned tomato sauce and ice-cube pesto stores in the freezer once the snow starts falling – I will be sad and disappointed in us if we don’t – but I think this recipe may be my last bittersweet goodbye to recipes involving fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs. It’s time.
After the last Barramundi recipe I posted, the skillet with the fresh tomatoes and butter and garlic and white beans and such and the one that you all raved about in the comments ♡ and that had me licking my bowl with zero percent shame, I am feeling like we might be onto something with the white-fish-tomato-herb-garlic thing. So what else to do but carry on the torch with this amazing food and flavor combination to see what other magic we can create? Soul sister flavors, similar vibe, NEW FORM.
New form is looking like a few different things.
- Still using Barramundi, but this time: fried crispy and golden brown and perfect, with the skin. Okay, hoooooold on. It’s okay to feel your feelings about this. Sometimes it helps to know what you are and what you aren’t in life – and I will be the first to say, I am just straight up NOT the kind of person who is high-class enough to fry a whole skin-on, head-and-eyeballs fish for dinner. I’m more of a freezer shrimp poppers kinda girl // proud // represent. So let me tell you how this skin-on fish situation works for me. Our pals at Whole Foods, being attentive like it is to things like sustainable seafood, not only carry Barramundi but actually offer a skin-on version if you go and ask at the seafood counter. And if you’re not digging the skin situation just yet, it’s okay – you can also get the wonderful regular Barramundi filets and enjoy yourself some melt-in-the-mouth awesomeness just as easily.
- Speaking of melt-in-your-mouth perfection, how about a slow-simmered tomato risotto that has the most delicate kiss of fresh tomato-thyme flavor and sings little love notes of Parmesan and garlic to serve as a perfect little bed for your fried, crispy, golden, fish? MORE YASSS.
I know a lot of us are looking to make sustainable seafood choices but don’t really know where to start. I’M IN THAT CLUB. And I’m telling you – here’s an easy way to do it: buy Barramundi. It’s a basic white fish that tastes similar to sea bass (the stuff you get a great restaurants? yes. that.) and it cooks as easily as the frozen tilapia that everyone is familiar with. But the bonus is that it has Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s highest rating for sustainability, plus it’s totally clean, mercury-free, and delicious.
See, told you. 👇🏼
Even better, October is National Seafood Month! 🎉 If you want to celebrate and try Barramundi – either the skin-on OR skinless filets – be sure to use this coupon! Awyeah.
- 6-7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup chopped onion
- a few cloves of minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1½ cups arborio rice
- 4 tomatoes, grated or pulsed through a food processor
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large filets of Barramundi (skin on)
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- Heat the chicken broth in a saucepan and keep it warm.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme. Stir until softened. Add the arborio rice and stir until coated with the butter.
- Add 1 cup of warm broth and stir until absorbed. Repeat with ½ cup of pulsed tomatoes. Repeat again, alternating between broth and tomatoes, stirring after each addition until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until the risotto is cooked. This will take 20-30 minutes. Add a handful of Parmesan, the remaining chopped tomatoes, and salt to taste and stir to combine.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add a generous swish of olive oil. Pat fish filets with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (I also cut them in half since they were so big! Eyeball it based on the number of people you're serving.) Add dry filets to the pan, skin side down, and fry for several minutes on each side. It will be hot and it might splatter, so watch out. When the fish is cooked and golden brown/crispy, remove from the pan.
- Serve the fish with the risotto and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan.
- For a quick pan sauce, toss some butter in the pan that you fried the fish along with a pinch of thyme and lemon juice. Whisk until combined and serve over the fish.
This post was sponsored by Australis Barramundi. We love love love this delicious, sustainable fish!