Amberjack with Scorched Onion Barley | Next time you wake up early and take a jog down to your local fish market, take a peek to see if they have some Amberjack in stock. It’s sleek, unique, light and handsome…kinda like us after our workout run. Just kidding.
So what did we make with our new friend? Well that you’ll have to read on to find out…
In this recipe, we pair our butter-sauteed Amberjack with a soft barley. But not just any barley. We cook it slowly with mirin and chicken stock, and finish it off with crisp scallions and dried cranberries. But this dish wouldn’t be complete without some spice, so we do a quick pickle on serrano peppers and cucumber made with just a touch of sugar and star anise. This one you’ll remember.
* Make the pickled serrano at least 4 hours in advance.
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- Serrano - 1, thinly sliced
- Cucumber - ½ cup, small dice
- Garlic - 1 large clove, smashed
- Grapefruit Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Star Anise - 1
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Salt - ½ teaspoon
- Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Barley - 1 cup
- Mirin - 2 tablespoons
- Chicken Stock - 2 ½ cups
- Sweet Onion - 1, medium
- Orange Bell Pepper - ½ cup, small dice
- Dried Cranberries - ¼ cup, finely minced
- Kalamata Olives - ½ cup, finely minced
- Roasted Garlic - 1 tablespoon
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
- Scallions - ½ cup, thinly sliced
- Sugar - ⅛ teaspoon
- Salt - ½ teaspoon
- Butter - 2 tablespoons, softened
- Amberjack Fish - 4 fillets (8 ounces each)
- Cilantro - 1 tablespoon, finely minced, garnish
- White Pepper - ¼ teaspoon
- Salt - ½ teaspoon
- Air-Tight Container - 1, small
- Cast-Iron Pan
- Dutch Oven - medium, with cover
- Wooden Spoon
- Non-Stick Saute Pans - 2, large, oven-safe
- Fish Spatula - or use a regular one
- Peel your cucumber and spoon out the seeds with a spoon. You don't want those. a
- Then dice up just ½ cup and pop them into the container. Save the rest for another use.
- Put your mandolin on its thinnest setting (that's a 1/32 for us) and slice the serrano into rings. Then pop the seeds out with your fingers. You don't want those, it will be too hot.
- Toss them into the container with the cucumber, stir in all the rest of the ingredients, cover, and let it all sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Well done.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the rack in the middle.
- Slice your onion in half lengthwise and rub each cut-side with the vinegar.
- Get all your other ingredients together.
- Let your dry cast-iron get really hot for a few minutes over medium-high heat.
- Then lay in the onion cut-side down and sear them untouched for 5 to 6 minutes until they're blackened and aromatic.
- Take them out of the pan and let them cool. Once they're cooled, julienne each half crosswise into thin strips. Set them aside.
- Now grab the dutch and melt the butter with the sugar and a pinch of the salt.
- Then stir in the onions, give it a stir, and saute until most of the liquid has evaporated - about 3 minutes.
- Now add the mirin, olives, pepper, garlic and another small pinch of salt, and saute for 5 more minutes.
- Then pour in the stock and and spread the barley around the dutch.
- Raise the heat to high to bring it to a rapid boil.
- Then go ahead and cover the dutch and pop it in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Take the cover off and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 more minutes until it's soft & fork tender.
- Stir in the scallions and dried cranberries. Season to taste and set the dutch aside in a warm place while you cook the fish. Bravo!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pu the rack in the middle.
- Take the fillets out of the fridge, pat them as dry as you can with a paper towel, and let them come up to room temperature - about 15 minutes.
- Now go ahead and season the fillets all over with the salt and pepper, and them aside to cook.
- Toss 1 tablespoon of the butter into each of the saute pans and put them over medium-high heat.
- Once the bubbles settle down, lay two fillets into each pan, give the pan a quick shake so they don't stick, and let them sear for 3 minutes (don't mess the fish, let it cook).
- Then go ahead and flip each piece and sear them for another 3 minutes.
- Now toss both pan directly into the oven for 7 to 8 minutes until the fish is opaque and cooked through.
- After 8, take the fillets out of the pans so they don't overcook. Ok, let's plate!
- Grab four large serving bowls (the wider the better).
- Spoon a portion of barley in the center of each one.
- Lay over a fish fillet.
- Then spoon on some of the barley braising liquid.
- Finally, garnish with the pickled serrano, cucumber, cilantro and a pinch of salt over each piece of fish. Enjoy!
* When you're plating, don't get too much of the barley liquid on the plate. Keep it clean.
* Also, make sure to spoon over some of the pan juices/cooking butter from the saute pans.
* And remember, serve this dish right away while it's warm. It is fish after all!
If you’ve read this far, then you need to check out Chili Opah Casarecce and Crispy Short Rib Wontons + Ragu.
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