Tag Archives: barramundi

In which I confront a barramundi with a butter knife and a paper towel

It looks so innocent at first...

It looks so innocent at first...

You all should know by now that I tend to think labor isn’t worth much. At least, when it happens to be my own. So it should come as no surprise when I tell you I walked into Victoria Markets in Melbourne and decided to buy a whole fish. Despite the fact that I had no oven, and would have to fillet the damn thing myself with a knife that is probably older than I am. Not that I have a thing against old knives, but imagine one that hasn’t been sharpened in that amount of time, and you’ll understand what I’m getting at.

I wanted a barramundi, and I didn’t want to pay more than $10/kg for it (that is a little less than $5/lb for those of you back home). I figured I had found a place with a kitchen for a reason, right? Of course, if you’ve ever stayed in such a place, you may already realize that these apartments are not designed with the “gourmet” food snob in mind. The cutting board was the size of a small paperback book, and my fish wasn’t exactly tiny. The fish I chose was the smallest one I could find, and it actually weighed about a kilo. But it cost me $10. And I would get the head and all!

Which would make sense if I were at home and planning to make fish stock. Right.

Anyway, I made a huge mess cutting this thing into fillets. I probably even wasted a bit of its sweet, moist flesh. But I got there, eventually. I didn’t do much else to it — I cooked it in a bit of butter, with some garlic, salt, and pepper, and served it hot with a bit of lemon juice. The beautiful part about this was that I would have cooked it that way even if I were at home. You don’t need much to make this fish tasty.

You cant get much simpler than this.

You can't get much simpler than this.

I served it with some kale (or cavolo nero, as they called it in the market), which I sauteed in the same buttery garlicky mess I cooked the fish in, and some fingerling-like potatoes, which I got a kick out of because they were still covered in dirt. For the record, if you don’t mind washing potatoes yourself here in Australia, you can save yourself a bit of cash. Which is awesome when food actually costs what it should.

This also paired beautifully with the bread I found on St. Kilda. For the bread obsessed out there, here’s a close-up of the crumb:

No, its not a proper cross section. Remember, Im working with primitive tools.

No, it's not a proper cross section. I couldn't be bothered - trust me, it was gorgeous.

Too bad I have yet to find such a specimen in Canberra, where I’m setting in at the moment. The experiment is next week, and I’ve been working my ass off, so really, I don’t have much to report. I did make a mean curry udon noodle soup tonight with some drastically reduced Chinese broccoli, but I’ll save that for another night. In the meantime, check out my flickr page for a few shots from my short tour of the Dandenongs on Puffing Billy (I am a cheesy tourist sometimes) / on foot, depending on the view, and some foodie stuff from tonight. No actual pictures of Canberra yet, which is unsurprising because I’ve seen the man-made lake from a runner’s perspective and the inside of the lab. Oh, and the grocery store after dark. Exciting stuff, no? But more is soon to come, if I don’t manage to completely destroy my camera in the meantime. I busted the lens cover, apparently … Travel’s fun like that sometimes.

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