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Cone Bay Saltwater Barramundi with Spanner Crab Parcel; Sage and Eschalot Cream

Try this seafood dish from award-winning restaurant Catalina.


  • 4 x 200g Cone Bay saltwater barramundi portions, skin on (ask your fishmonger to portion for you)

  • Olive oil, salt and pepper

  • For the spanner crab parcels:

  • 200g picked spanner crab meat

  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped

  • 1 wombok (chinese cabbage)

  • Salt and pepper

  • For the sage and eschallot cream:

  • 5 eschalots (note: these are the little French onions, not spring onions) finely sliced

  • 1 bunch sage roughly chopped

  • A little olive oil

  • 250ml dry white wine

  • 400ml pouring cream

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • For the garnishes:

  • Red oil: 4 tbsp tomato paste

  • 4 cloves garlic, peleed

  • 100ml olive oil

  • Enoki mushrooms, deep-fried until crispy

  • Baby herbs: 1 punnet picked mache


  • Spanner crab parcel::

  • 1.

    Pick 4 nice green wombok leaves.

  • 2.

    Plunge into salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Then plunge into ice water to refresh.

  • 3.

    When cool, dry them off with a tea towel and set aside

  • 4.

    Mix spanner crab meat with chopped chives, and season with salt and pepper

  • 5.

    Place 50g of spanner crab/chive mix on each wombok leaf, and wrap up into a parcel and place them aside

  • Sage and eschalot cream::

  • 1.

    Start by sautéing the fine sliced eschalots and sage in a pan using a little olive oil – cook until eschalots become transparent

  • 2.

    Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce until almost gone

  • 3.

    Then add the cream, bring just to the boil, then turn down. Allow to reduce slowly, until thick

  • 4.

    Season with salt and pepper to taste, then strain

  • 5.

    Set aside, keeping warm

  • Red oil::

  • 1.

    Place tomato paste in a saucepan with garlic and olive oil and cook on a very low heat for 45 minutes or until oil turns red

  • 2.

    When oil is red, strain and discard the rest

  • 3.

    Set red oil aside to use as garnish later on

  • Putting the dish together and plating::

  • 1.

    Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius

  • 2.

    Season barramundi portions with olive oil, and salt and pepper

  • 3.

    Pre-heat large oiled pan until just smoking. Place barramundi in the pan, skin side down and cook on high for 1 minute

  • 4.

    Put in pre-heated oven for 5 – 6 minutes, or until just cooked

  • 5.

    Place spanner crab parcels in steamer and steam for 5 minutes

  • 6.

    Put 30 ml of the sage and eschalot cream on bottom of each plate (use a bowl plate like a pasta plate, rather than a flat plate). Place the crab parcel on top of the sauce. Drizzle red oil around, on top of the sauce using a teaspoon

  • 7.

    Place barramundi on top of crab parcel, skin side up. Top the fish with fried enoki mushroom and place sprigs of mache around the plate in top of the sauce

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