Lunchbreak: Barramundi

Midday News

Chef Matt McMillin, VP Culinary & Beverage Innovation, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants’ newest location will be in Morton Grove – opening to the public on March 29.


The Cooper’s Hawk menu features a LIFE BALANCE section in which each dish is 600 calories or fewer.

The dish includes Blistered Green Beans, Grape Tomatoes, Ginger Rice, Thai Lemongrass Sauce.

Cooper’s Hawk recommends pairing the dish with its award-winning  94-point Gewürztraminer wine.

Cooper’s Hawk Barramundi

Thai Lemongrass Sauce: (Makes about 3 Cups)

3 Cups Chakoah Coconut Milk

2 TBL oz Canola Oil

2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped Finely

1 TBL Ginger, Fresh Chopped Very Fine

1 1/2 oz Massaman Curry Paste

1/2 Cup Chicken Stock

1 ½ tsp Sugar

1 pinch White Pepper

¾ tsp Kosher Salt

  1. Begin by placing coconut milk into a heavy bottom sauce pot.
  2.  Set on high heat, and bring to boil. Watch carefully, as the coconut milk has a tendency to boil over. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes to reduce by one third. Stir often.
  3. While the coconut milk is simmering, place a separate pot on medium heat. When hot, add the oil, followed by the garlic and ginger. Stir well allowing the ingredients to sweat but do not brown.
  4. After approximately 2 minutes, add the Massaman Curry Paste and stir well. Allow the ingredients to saute lightly, becoming fragrant. Stir often to prevent burning.
  5. After 10 minutes of simmering the coconut milk has elapsed, add it to the curry paste mixture, as well as the chicken stock and sugar. Stir well and increase the heat to medium-high, bring to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  The sauce should just coat the back of a spoon.
  6. After simmering, remove from the heat and strain into a clean container using a China Cap or medium mesh strainer. Use a spatula to press and extract all the liquid and flavor from the ingredients trapped in the strainer.
  7. Finish by mixing in the white pepper and kosher salt and mix well.  Reserve for making the barramundi or cool for later use.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Procedure for Cooking Fish and Finishing Dish:

1 oz Oil Canola Oil

2 Each Barramundi Fillet, 7 -8 oz. Portion

Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to Season

½ TBL Unsalted Butter

6 oz Blistered Green Beans-Fresh Green Beans Dropped into 350 degree Oil for 45 seconds just until the beans have a wrinkled appearance, removed and tossed with salt and pepper

10 Each Grape Tomatoes, Cut in Half

1 Pinch Salt and Pepper Mix

1 Cup Thai Lemongrass Sauce

¼ Cup Chicken Stock

1 ½ TBL Basil, Rough Chop

1 ½ TBL Cilantro, Rough Chop

Lemon Dip Sauce: (Mix ingredients below until sugar is dissolved and set aside to finish the sauce)

                2 tsp Three Crabs Fish Sauce

                1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice, Freshly Squeezed

                3/4 tsp Sugar

1 ½ Cups Cooked Jasmine Rice

  1. Start by frying the green beans, drain and toss with the grape tomatoes, salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Begin by placing a saute pan on high heat.
  3. While the pan is heating, gather the barramundi portions and pat dry, and season evenly on both sides with kosher salt and pepper. When hot, add canola oil and begin to sear the fish, skin side up.  Make sure to gently place fish in pan so as not to splatter the oil.
  4. Allow fish to sear until golden brown (approximately 2 minutes).
  5. When golden brown, flip over, reduce heat and proceed to sear for an additional 2-3 minutes then add butter and coat the fish in the butter as it melts and browns slightly.  The fish should be approximately ¾ cooked.  Remove the fish to a platter and save the pan for the sauce.
  6. Pour off excess oil from the pan and immediately add Thai Lemongrass Sauce and chicken stock.
  7. Place on high heat, and allow the sauce to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, add the fish back in to finish cooking.  Add the basil, cilantro, and the reserved Lemon Dip Sauce and stir well.  Immediately remove from the heat.
  8. Finish by placing the jasmine rice on a platter followed by the seasoned green beans and tomatoes and lean the fish gently on an angle over rice and beans.  Pour remaining sauce over the fish and around beans and rice.

Note:  If a fryer is not available, you can substitute steamed green beans for the fried green beans and toss with salt and pepper and a few drops of Kadoya brand sesame oil.

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