Barramundi ‘Larb’ with Native Australian Flavours
Larb or larp is a popular north eastern Thai dish and is also the national dish of Laos. Essentially it is a sour and spicy meat, fish or vegetarian salad, fragrant with fresh herbs and spices. There are other regional variations in Thailand and the meat or fish can be cooked whole and shredded or minced (ground) and then cooked with the flavourings. As a fan of Australian native spices, I am using those instead to create Barramundi ‘larb’ with Native Australian flavours.
Serves 4 as an appetiser
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
50 g (1 ¾ oz) bean-thread (cellophane) noodles
¾ teaspoon ground lemon myrtle
1 teaspoon ground native pepperberry
2 x 200 g (7 oz) barramundi fillets, skin on
1 tablespoon (20 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cm (1 ¼ in) piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/3 cup (80 ml or 2 ¾ fl oz) lime juice and the zest of 1 lime or 2–3 native finger limes
½ cup native mint or mint leaves, roughly chopped, plus a few extra sprigs
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 witlof (Belgian endives/chicory) or baby gem lettuces, leaves separated
- Place the noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water to cover. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Drain well, cut into shorter pieces and set aside.
- Combine the lemon myrtle, pepperberry and a good grinding of salt. Dust this mixture on both sides of the barramundi.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the barramundi, skin side down, and cook for 4 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 more minutes or until crusted. Turn over and cook on the other side until cooked through, approximately 4 minutes more. After 2 minutes add the garlic and ginger to the pan, stirring often.
- Remove and slide off the crisp skin and reserve. Place the fish flesh in a shallow bowl and, using two forks, flake the fish, mixing through the garlic and ginger. Season with salt, lime juice and zest or fruit from the finger limes, the mint and onion and mix well. Toss through the bean-thread noodles and taste for seasoning. Cut the crisp skin into thin shards.
- To serve, divide the witlof or lettuce leaves between four plates, top with barramundi, a few springs of mint, extra finger lime pearls, if available, and shards of crisp skin.
Lyndey’s Note: This also makes a lovely canapé in witlof leaves and makes 24.
Wine: The lemony, herbaceous flavours here are well suited to a riesling or semillon.