Crispy Skin Barramundi, Caramelised Onion Puree, Vongole Clams

Crispy Skin Barramundi, Caramelised Onion Puree, Vongole Clams, Steamed Kale
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Mar 14, 2017

This is one of the signature dishes of Mark Holland, the new Head Chef at Sydney’s Woolloomooloo’s iconic gastro-pub, The Tilbury Hotel.

Crispy Skin Barramundi

4 x 150g portions of barramundi (gently sliced three times on the skin)
45g butter
Half a lemon juiced

Caramelised onion puree

5 large white skinned onions (peeled and sliced)
50ml cotton seed oil
50g butter

Caramelised shallots

1kg peeled shallots

Vongole clams

1kg fresh Vongole clams
1 shallot (peeled and finely sliced)
500ml white wine 
Handful of dill/tarragon/parsley stalks
Half head of fennel
1 sliced scallion 
1 bunch of parsley (chopped)
Baby capers

Steamed kale

Lemon vinaigrette 
1kg curly kale
1. Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a smoking hot frying pan, turn the flame down, add a table spoon of cotton or vegetable oil and sear barramundi skin side down. Season the meat side with salt and pepper. Turn up the heat slighty and leave the fish, do not move. Wait until you can see the sides of the skin looking golden brown, place the frying pan in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove fish from oven and press gently on the top – it should be firm to touch.
2. At this point you can very carefully turn the fish over so the skin side is now up. Add the butter and allow to melt. When it is slightly browning, you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice and baste the fish two or three times. Remove and leave to rest for 2 minutes on chux roll. 
3. Caramelise the shallots by slicing in half and placing face down in a smoking hot frying pan. Place in the oven and roast until soft. Remove from the pan and pull shells apart. 
4. For the puree, peel and slice the onions. In a pot add the cotton seed oil and allow the oil to get very hot, carefully adding the sliced onions. Cook for about 5 minutes without touching, then start to stir gently. You want the onions to catch on the bottom of the pan to get that roasted caramalised flavour. Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally. Add a touch of water if you need to deglaze the burnt bottom (I know it sounds wrong, but the flavour of the burnt onions is incredible). 
5. When you have a dark golden brown colour and the onions are cooked, you can add the butter and a splash of water. 
6. Transfer to a blender with a splash of sherry vinegar, blend until glossy and smooth. 
7. For the clams, place a pan on the heat. In a bowl add the clams, wine, vegetables and herb stalks. When the pan is hot, pour the contents of the bowl into the pan and quickly put a lid on top. Leave to cook on a high heat for 2 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. 
8. To serve the clams, coat the clams in a good olive oil, lemon juice, three tablespoons of the reserved liquor, scallions, baby capers and chopped parsley. Toss to cover and set aside somewhere warm until service. 
9. For the kale, place a steamer basket over a pan of boiling water. Steam kale on a high heat for 1 minute. Remove from pan and cover in olive oil and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. 
To serve
Place two spoonfuls of the puree on the plate on either side of the centre. In the middle put the steamed kale with the barramundi on top. Scatter the clams around the fish and spoon the remaining liquid in the bowl over the clams and around the plate. Arrange the caramelised shallots in and around the clams. Add picked chervil as a garnish to finish it off.


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