1 small dried chile pepper, such as chile de arbol or cayenne, stem and seeds removed
1/3 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar*
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
For the Fish and Assembly:
1 pound skinless barramundi fillets
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 ounces cured Spanish chorizo**, thinly sliced on a bias
Flat leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
Wow your guests with the flavors of Spain.
Mix meaty barramundi with spicy chorizo and bright tangy romesco and you’ve got a party in a bite. This vibrant and mouthwatering appetizer is perfect for the holidays.
Step 1 Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet (like cast iron) over medium heat. Add the plum tomato, hazelnuts and bread. Toss the nuts and bread around until they’re golden brown, then use a slotted spoon to remove them to the bowl of a food processor.
Step 2 When the tomato starts to brown and blister on one side, rotate it to another side and allow it to do the same thing. Repeat until all sides are browned. In the meantime, add the garlic cloves to the pan and toss them around until they begin to turn golden. Add the sliced almonds and dried chile and toss around for about one minute. These will begin to brown quickly. When everything is golden, transfer to the food processor along with the tomato and any remaining oil.
Step 3 Add the roasted peppers, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika and salt to the food processor, then pulse a few times to get everything broken up. Let the motor run as you stream in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Process the sauce until it’s smooth but still has a little bit of texture remaining. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Step 4 Pat the barramundi fillets very dry, then cut lengthwise into strips. Remove the blood line, then slice crosswise into bite sized pieces as evenly as possible. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 5 Wipe out the same skillet you used earlier and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the pan is hot, add a few pieces of barramundi, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. When they’re golden and nicely seared, flip, then remove them from the pan once they’re totally cooked through. Repeat with the remaining pieces. At this point, cooked barramundi bites can be held, covered, in a 175 degree oven for up to 1 hour.
Step 6 To assemble, spoon the Romesco sauce on to a platter and spread it out into a thick line. Skewer a piece of barramundi and a piece of chorizo with a toothpick, then place it down onto the sauce. Repeat with the remaining barramundi and chorizo. Place a small leaf of parsley on top of each skewer and serve immediately.
*If sherry vinegar is unavailable, substitute red wine vinegar.
**Cured Spanish chorizo is hard, dried and should not be confused with the fresh variety, such as Mexican chorizo, which is a fresh sausage.
***This recipe makes more sauce than you’ll need for the appetizer. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for one week and can be frozen for longer storage. Serve it with more barramundi, grilled meats, fresh vegetables and potatoes!
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