New in the Market: Barramundi

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on January 17, 2011 · 5 comments

We love to try new foods. Some are great and become staples in our kitchen. Others don’t measure up. See what you think.

Barramundi is a fish native to the waters of northern Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. It is a sportfish that can grow to be 4 feet long and weight close to 90 pounds. Little known in the US until recently, barramundi has been eaten in Australia for generations. Now Australis Aquaculture, is bringing this mild, white fish, available both fresh and frozen, to the US.

Fresh barramundi is raised in Massachusetts in one of the largest aquaculture facilities in the world. The frozen product is grown in central Vietnam. Australis employs controlled fish farming practices and low density stocking that eliminates the needs for antibiotics to control disease. Hormones, colorants and additives are prohibited. These green-farming methods have won the company numerous environmental awards. Barramundi is mercury-free and ranked as a “best choice” on the Sustainable Seafood Guide of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

We tried the plain frozen fillets, defrosted, grilled and served with herbed lemon butter. The fish is similar to halibut in texture with a mild, sweet, buttery flavor. It was excellent and we highly recommend it. A 4-ounce serving has 90 calories, 2 grams of fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 23 grams of protein and 40 milligrams of sodium. Barramundi is rich in omega-3 fats, making it a good alternative to salmon and other omega-3-rich fatty fish.

Barramundi fillets are also available frozen and flavored: Lemon Herb Butter and Crispy Asian Sesame Panko. The additional seasonings add calories, fat and sodium to these varieties.

This is a product worth trying and one that could turn non-fish-eaters into seafood converts.

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