This recipe uses apahap, also known as barramundi or Asian sea bass. Its moist, firm flesh makes for a hearty bite, while its mild, relatively neutral flavor allows it to pair well with other components: a nutty puree of corn and potatoes; charred, miso-tinged brussel sprouts; and naturally sweet walnuts, for example. As a finishing touch, the fish is painted with a sweet teriyaki glaze that glistens against its crisp skin.
Miso Brussels Sprouts
- 300g brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and stalks trimmed
- 3 tbsp miso
- 3 tbsp water
Sweet Corn Puree
- 300g potatoes, peeled and quartered
- ½ can (200g) cream of corn
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dashi powder
- 3 pcs apahap fillets, skin on
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup roasted walnuts
Prepare the Brussels Sprouts
Slice brussels sprouts lengthwise, top to bottom. Prepare an ice water bath in a bowl big enough to hold your vegetables.
Fill a pot with water. Season generously with salt—the water should taste slightly salty, like your memory of the sea. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Once water is boiling, add the brussel sprouts and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge the vegetables into the ice bath. Set aside.
Add water and miso in a small mixing bowl. Stir until well combined, seasoning to taste. Set aside.
Make the Sweet Corn Puree
Fill a pot with water and season with salt. The water should taste slightly salty, just like the brine for the brussels sprouts. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, add the potatoes. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and maintain a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft, and a skewer or knife can be inserted with no resistance, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a bowl.
In a separate bowl, blend the cream of corn and strain through a sieve. Keep the cream and throw out the gritty bits.
Transfer the strained corn to the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Season with salt and dashi, adjusting to taste. Set aside.
Cook the Apahap
Place apahap on a tray. Pat dry with a paper towel and season liberally with salt.
Add oil to a cast iron pan over high heat. Once oil is hot and shimmering, place fish skin-side down onto the pan. Avoid overcrowding and cook in batches if necessary. Gently press the apahap down with a fish spatula to prevent curling, about 15 seconds.
Lower the heat to medium cook the apahap until the edges are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter. Once the butter starts to brown and smell nutty, tilt pan until the melted butter pools to one side. Spoon the melted butter over the apahap until cooked through.
Flip the apahap and continue cooking until the fish is completely firm and flakes easily. Remove from heat and brush the skin side with teriyaki sauce. Set aside.
Heat corn puree in a small saucepan or pot until warm. Divide equally among three plates.
Place teriyaki-glazed apahap on top of the corn puree, skin side up.
Add olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat. Toss brussels sprouts in miso mixture until all pieces are evenly coated.
Once the oil is hot, place brussels sprouts in an even layer on the pan, flat side down. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown, taking care not to burn them. Give them one quick toss in the pan to warm through, then remove from heat.
Arrange brussels sprouts around the fish. Garnish with toasted walnuts and serve immediately.