Lunchbreak: Bistrot Zinc chef Tim Kirker makes barramundi with spaghetti squash

Bistrot Zinc
1131 N. State Street
Chicago
(312) 337-1131
www.bistrotzinc.com

Barramundi with Spaghetti Squash, Quinoa, and Walnut-Parsley Pistou

Ingredients:
4 ea. Barramundi portions (5-6 ounces each for a filling entree)
1 ea. medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 cup red/black quinoa
1 ea. medium yellow onion, small dice
1/4 cup of dry white wine
1 med. bunch of flat-leafed parsley
4 cloves of roasted garlic
1 ea. whole lemon (for zest and juice)
1 cup well-toasted walnuts
1/4 cup of walnut oil or canola oil

Directions:

The spaghetti squash:
This step may be done a day or so before service. Brush the cut surface of the halved squashes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of squash. When properly cooked the squash will be soft enough to have some give when pressed with a finger but not so soft that the squash is starting to lose its shape. Flip to squash right side up to cool. When cool enough to handle use a dinner fork to scrape the flesh of the squash lengthwise, yielding strands of “spaghetti”.

The quinoa:
This step may be done a day or so before service. Simply boil the quinoa in four cups of boiling, salted water until the grains puff to display the circle in the middle. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and store until needed. (don’t use too small a strainer with the quinoa as you will watch much of it go down the drain)

Walnut-parsley pistou:
This should be done the day of service as the pistou will oxidize if made too far in advance. In a food processor, combine the roughly chopped parsley, roasted garlic, finely-grated lemon zest, walnuts, and walnut oil(substitute neutral canola oil if walnut oil is not available.). Pulse until combined into a chunky mass. Add a touch more oil if needed and season with salt. After another quick pulse remove to a bowl and adjust for salt.

Service:
Heat two appropriately-sized sautée pans over medium-high heat. One is for the fish, the other for the quinoa-squash mixture. Sauté the onions with a pinch of salt in 1 tablespoon of canola oil until soft and brown. Away from the flame, add the wine and spaghetti squash. Heat thoroughly and add the desired amount of quinoa. Season and reserve in the warm pan. Season the barramundi with salt and pepper. Add canola oil(or your preferred fat for sautéeing) after the pan has been heated to medium high. Carefully, yet quickly, place the portions in the pan with the skin side down. The goal is to achieve a uniformly crispy skin- add a touch more oil if needed, find a flame which allows the fish to cook rapidly without scorching, and try not to play with the fish in the pan. After about four minutes, gently lift a portion. Flip and cook for two or so more minutes until the fish is cooked through. not to play with the fish in the pan. After about four minutes, gently lift a portion. Flip and cook for two or so more minutes until the fish is cooked through.

Plating:
Center the quinoa-squash mixture on the plate, place the fish atop, and drizzle the pistou as desired.

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