Crispy Barramundi with Saffron, Sprouts, Pancetta and a Prawn Head Broth

 Crispy Barramundi with SaffronRecipe by: Matt Sinclair - Contestant 
Serves: 4


Prawn Head Broth:

  • 1 pinch premium Persian saffron
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pancetta, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 8 prawn heads
  • 60ml Pernod
  • 60ml brandy
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • salt, to taste
  • juice of ½ a lemon, or to taste
  • sherry vinegar, to taste
  • 2 large Dutch cream potatoes, sliced to 8 x 5mm thick slices
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, for frying and dressing
  • 4 brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed
  • 2 brussels sprouts, leaves picked and separated
  • juice of ½ a lemon, or to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 x 150g portions barramundi fillet, boned
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, for frying
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter

  • Fennel flowers
  • sprigs Dill
  • Sugar snap peas, freshly shelled




  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. For the Prawn Head Broth, place a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and pancetta and fry until just beginning to colour. Add onion and prawn heads and stir until slightly caramelised. Add Pernod and brandy and stir to deglaze the pan. Add stock, water, thyme and saffron and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve. Season to taste with salt. Add lemon juice and sherry vinegar, to taste. Set aside, keeping warm, until needed.
  3. For the Potatoes, use a cookie cutter to cut potato slices to 4cm discs. Place an oven-proof fry pan on the stove top over medium heat. Add the butter and oil and swirl to melt the butter. Add the discs of potato fry until slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add 1 ladleful of the Prawn Head Broth into the pan and place pan into the oven to cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside, keeping warm, until needed.
  4. For the Sprouts, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add halved brussels sprouts, cut side down, and fry until crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. To cook the brussels sprout leaves, bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. Prepare a medium bowl of iced water and set aside. Once salted water is boiling, add brussels sprout leaves and blanch until bright green, about 20 seconds, then remove and immediately plunge into the prepared iced water to refresh. Strain the leaves, pat dry and set aside in a bowl. In a small bowl, make a dressing by whisking together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the brussels sprout leaves and set aside until needed to serve.
  6. For the Barramundi, place large fry pan over medium heat and add the oil. Season the barramundi fillets to taste and place into pan, skin side down until skin is crisp, about 4-6 minutes. When the skin is crisp, turn fillets over and add 1 tablespoon of butter to the frying pan. Cook for a further 2 minutes, spooning pan juices over the fillets until fish is just cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside to rest for 2 minutes.
  7. To serve, place 2 - 3 slices of the Potato in the middle of each of the serving plates. Add 2 halves of the fried brussels sprouts and a few of the dress blanched brussels sprout leaves. Place Barramundi fillet on top and garnish with some fennel flowers, dill sprigs and sugar snap peas. Serve broth on the side to pour over just before eating