Barramundi (Asian Seabass), Alicante Style

Barrmundi Alicante Style

Traditionally, this dish is made with red snapper fillets, which is served daily at the world-famous Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. This fabulously ornate and historic  fine dining icon is the oldest and largest Hispanic restaurant in the Untied States and is best known for its fine Cuban-Spanish cuisine.

Alicante is the name of a town in Cuba, as well as the style of cooking that is the basis of this recipe.

Barramundi Fillets were used instead of the traditional red snapper fillets. Whether for everyday cooking or special occasions, barramudi is a mild and delicious fish. Called the “next big fish”  in the Untied States, it has been a staple for Thai cooking and tastes great, grilled, baked or broiled and is sustainable.

There are many variation of this mouth watering dish in which the fish is roasted for a short time, seasoned in a brown gravy, olive oil, Sautrene wine  and fresh green  bell peppers. The garnish of fresh shrimp, fried eggplant and golden toasted almonds, makes this dish a stand out.

PREP TIME:            20 Minutes
COOKING TIME:  30 Minutes
TOTAL TIME:         ~1 Hour
SERVES:                     4


For the Shrimp Supreme                                                                                      

16  large shrimp, peeled and deveined
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
8 lean bacon strips
1 egg
1/ 2 cup milk
all-purpose flour, for dredging

For the Brown gravy

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 14 ounce can beef broth*
Salt and black pepper to taste
* Chicken or vegetable broth can be used as a substitute

For the Alicante    

2 pounds barramundi fillets
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup Sauterne wine
3/4 cup brown gravy
salt and pepper to taste
4 green bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced


For the Eggplant

2 medium eggplants, 1/2 inch sliced
2 cups breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil as needed


For the Garnish       

8 thin slices of egg plant breaded and fried
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Chopped fresh parsley


To make the gravy, start by making a roux. Add the butter to a medium high skillet. Add the flour and constantly stirring until the flour begins to turn brown. The darker you cook the roux, thee deeper and nuttier the  flavor will be. Just be careful not to let it burn. Whisk in the broth  ( you can used vegetable, beef or chicken). Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the mixture cook a few minutes until it has fully thicken.

Slice the eggplant in 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt and allow the egg plant to sit and drain for 1 hour. In a shallow dish, add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.  Pat the eggplant dry and dredge the eggplant in the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to make sure the breadcrumbs adhere to the the eggplant. Add olive oil to the skillet and heat the skillet to medium high. Add the eggplant to the skill and fry in batches until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined dish, Lightly season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

Pat the shrimp dry . Combine  lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in small non-metallic bowl. Add shrimp to the bowl and marinate for 15 minutes. Cut the bacon strips in half and wrap each half around a shrimp and secure with a tooth pick.

Beat together the eggs and the milk in a small bowl. Dip the bacon wrapped shrimp in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour. Deep fry the shrimp at 300 o F until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and keep warm.

Heat the oven to 350 o F.

To assemble the alicante,  add the  onions and garlic to the bottom of  a large 13 x 9 x 2-inch oven proof casserole dish. Place the fish on top of the onions and garlic. Pour the olive oil, wine, brown gravy to cover the fish and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with green pepper slices. Bake uncovered in the over for 25 minutes. Garnish each serving with eggplant, 4 shrimp, almonds and parsley.

Serves 4 .



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