Aquaculture brings Australian favorite to Boston

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
22 February 2007, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - Theres a new fish in town.

Haverhill, MA: Chef Scott Pelletier of Evenfall Restaurant in Haverhill prepares a plate with barramundi ,a farm fish new to the North Shore.

Called barramundi, the fish wasn’t cooked up in some scientist’s laboratory — it comes from Australia, the land down under.

But this Aussie fish is new to New Englanders. It made its way here thanks to a western Massachusetts fish farm that has made the fish more affordable and allows it to make its way to local markets and restaurants without going halfway across the world.

“It couldn’t get any fresher,” said Scott Pelletier, executive chef at Evenfall restaurant in Haverhill.

Pelletier is a big fan of barramundi, and prepares it pan-seared in a lobster nage (a sauce made from lobster stock and butter).

“It’s gone over very well,” said Pelletier. “It started very slow at first.”

Cultivating customers’ taste for barramundi took a little while, said Pelletier, because most weren’t familiar with the fish when it debuted on the menu a few months ago.

When it comes to cooking with the fish, Pelletier raves about it. Barramundi’s fat content keeps it from drying out and its white, flaky texture and taste (which he describes as a cross between halibut and haddock) make it easy to dress up with spices and sauces.

Daniel O’Neill, general manager of the Lobster Tail in North Andover and Windham, N.H., has also seen the fish grow in popularity over the last few months, a trend he expects to continue through Lent. Christians who observe the 40-day period leading up to Easter refrain from eating meat on Fridays, except for fish.