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Barramundi & Cousous

Honeynut squash, a sweet and petite variety of butternut, gets the star treatment in this recipe. (Your squash may have beautiful green stripes.) I use it to make an agrodolce—a sweet-and-sour Italian condiment—to top our barramundi. My agrodolce combines honey and vinegar with raisins and red pepper flakes for pops of fruity sweetness and a hint of heat. Served over pearl couscous and garlic-sautéed kale, it’s the perfect way to welcome fall.

Prep Time

    •    Prep and cook time: 50 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

    •    1 shallot
    •    1 bunch kale
    •    1 bunch mint
    •    1 tbsp honey
    •    2 cloves garlic
    •    1 honeynut squash
    •    2 tbsps golden raisins
    •    1 1/4 cups pearl couscous
    •    2 tbsps white wine vinegar
    •    4 skin-on barramundi fillets
    •    1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Method

  1. Prepare the ingredients: Remove the honey from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and finely chop the shallot. Pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Cut off and discard the ends of the squash. Carefully peel the squash; halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds. Small dice the squash. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves.

  2. Cook the couscous: Add the couscous to the pot of boiling water. Cook, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Reserving 1/2 cup of the couscous cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

  3. Make the glaze: While the couscous cooks, in a bowl, combine the honey (kneading the packet before opening), vinegar, shallot, raisins, half the mint (tearing the leaves just before adding), 2 tablespoons of water, and as much of the red pepper flakes as you'd like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Make the squash agrodolce: While the couscous continues to cook, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the glaze. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 3 minutes, or until thickened and the squash is coated. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside in a warm place. Rinse and wipe out the pan.

  5. Cook the kale & finish the couscous: In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the kale; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Add the reserved couscous cooking water and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale has wilted and the water has cooked off. Transfer to the pot of cooking couscous. Drizzle with olive oil; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Rinse and wipe out the pan used to cook the kale.

  6. Cook the barramundi & serve your dish: Pat the barramundi fillets dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned fillets, skin side down. Cook 5 to 7 minutes on the first side, or until lightly browned and the skin is crispy. Flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer the finished couscous to a serving dish. Top with the cooked barramundi fillets and squash agrodolce. Garnish with the remaining mint (tearing the leaves just before adding). Enjoy!