Provencal Barramundi Fillets with Lemon Scented Quinoa

I had been thinking about this dish for a week.  Smack bang in the middle of winter and I just felt like something light and healthy but not a salad.  This ticked every box…..succulent, fresh barramundi fillets swimming in a rich, tomato based sauce with all the classic provencal flavours of bay, capers, olives and anchovies.  Resting on a bed of light and fluffy lemon scented quinoa it was everything I had been dreaming of……and more.

Prep time:  20 Minutes                   Cooking time:  30  Minutes                     $$  Medium Budget

Serves 4

Olive oil for frying

10gm of butter

4 x 150gm fresh Barramundi fillets (Not essential, any firm white fish will do)

1 tbs of plain flour

2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

1 red onion, halved and sliced

1 tbs of baby capers, drained

20 pitted kalamata olives (5 each)

3 anchovy fillets

‘1/2 cup of dry white wine

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

400gm tin of diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1 tbs of tomato paste

1/2 tsp of sugar

Sea salt and cracked pepper

A small handful of continental parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Extra virgin Olive oil for drizzling

For the Quinoa:

11/2 cups of quinoa

2 cups of water

20gm of butter

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbs of finely chopped continental parsley

Sea salt and cracked pepper

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Place the flour on a flat plate and season with a little salt and pepper.  Dust the barramundi fillets with the flour and shake off any excess.

Heat a large frypan and add the butter and a little olive oil.  Lightly fry the barramundi on both sides until golden but not cooked in the middle.  Remove from the pan and set aside for later.

In the same pan add a little more olive oil if needed and lightly fry the onion and anchovy fillets, they will dissolve while cooking.  When the onion is soft add the garlic and capers and fry for a minute or so until fragrant and then add the lemon rind, lemon juice and white wine.  Allow to reduce for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a simmer and gently return the fish to the pan.  Scoop the sauce over the top of the fillets, cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets) or until cooked through.

Combine the quinoa, water, butter and lemon zest in a saucepan and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and once simmering put a lid on and allow the quinoa to steam and absorb the liquid on a low heat  for 12 minutes.  Turn the heat off and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before adding a squeeze of lemon juice, the chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork to combine.

To serve, divide the quinoa between four plates and top each pile with a fish fillet.  Spoon over the sauce, dividing the olives evenly to avoid fights and scatter over the roughly chopped parsley.  Serve with lemon wedges and steamed green beans if you so desire.