Blackened Barramundi – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Barramundi, a delicious firm white fish, is sprinkled with blackening spice and grilled to perfection on a panini press. This post is sponsored by NoshOn.It.

Low Carb Blackened Fish Recipe

I consider myself very fortunate that my kids will eat so many of the healthy foods I put in front of them. Of course like most kids, they would choose chicken nuggets and hot dogs if I let them. But I don’t give them that option very often, and they quite willingly down things like salad, broccoli and fish. We’ve struggled a little here and there on the seafood front, but I recently discovered a way to cook the fish that they like and will eat every single time. My panini press. I don’t make a lot of panini on it anymore but it gets pulled out at least once a week, if not more. And much of that is for cooking fish.

Like any family on a healthy kick, we are trying to get more fish into our diet. The trouble here is knowing which fish is truly healthy for you and isn’t full of contaminants. And if you care at all about the environment, knowing which fish species aren’t over-harvested and the what fishing practices are used to catch them. If we’re going to be able to eat fish 30 years from now, we need to care about sustainability.

Frozen Barramundi from Trader Joe's

So I was delighted to discover barramundi, a firm white fish that is farmed using Smart Aquaculture, a specially devised fish-farming system that minimizes environmental impact. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t farmed fish supposed to be less healthy and have less of all those good fats? Although that applies to many farmed species, it is not the case with barramundi. Each 5 ounce serving of barramundi contains 600 to 800 mg of those highly sought after Omega 3’s. And they are farmed with such stringent requirements that there are no detectable levels of mercury, PCBs or other contaminants.

Blackened Fish cooked on a panini press

Barramundi is gaining in popularity among chefs and home cooks. I found mine at Trader Joe’s, although Whole Foods carries it as well. Because it has firm flesh, it’s very versatile in cooking and it doesn’t fall to pieces when you try to flip in in the pan. I foresee many great recipes with it, but first I had to give it the panini press treatment. A little blackening spice, a little oil or butter, toss it into the hot press and 4 minutes later, you have yourself a delicious, healthy and sustainable dinner. To make it a little more kid-friendly, go easy on the spices. And if you really want to play to the kids, try cutting it off the skin, cutting it up and putting it on bamboo skewers. My kids love it when I do that and always ask for seconds!

Blackened Barramundi Recipe

*Note: If you don’t have a panini press, you can still cook Blackened Barramundi in a hot skillet on the stovetop.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored via the NoshOn.It Publisher Partner Program by a leading barramundi producer. All opinions, thoughts, recipes, photography, random tangents and incoherent ramblings are my own.

Blackened Barramundi – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: About 5 ounces

Blackened Barramundi – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Barramundi, a delicious firm white fish, is sprinkled with blackening spice and grilled to perfection on a panini press.

Ingredients

    Blackening Spice:
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • Blackened Barramundi:
  • 6 barramundi filets
  • Butter or coconut oil for the panini press (or skillet)

Instructions

  1. Preheat panini press to medium. If using a skillet on the stove, heat over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together paprika, oregano, thyme, pepper, garlic powder and salt.
  3. Sprinkle each barramundi filet with a generous amount of blackening spice. Press with back of a spoon to adhere.
  4. When panini press is up to temperature, with butter or coconut oil (I like to use the Kelapo coconut oil spray). If using a skillet, add butter or oil to the pan to coat.
  5. Add filets to panini press (you may need to do this in batches) and close the lid. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  6. If using a skillet, place fish flesh-side down on hot pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, then flip over to skin-side down and continue to cook until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  7. Serve hot, with a pat of butter or mayonnaise on top.

Notes

Please note: I could not find good information of the exact nutrition of barramundi online, so I substituted the counts for several other species of firm white fish and they all came out to very similar numbers.

Serves 6. Each serving has 2 g of carbs and 1 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 1 g.

Per serving: 198 Calories; 7g Fat (34.4% calories from fat); 30g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 56mg Cholesterol; 294mg Sodium.

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Comments

  1. What a great idea cooking fish on a panini press! I love it.

  2. Love that you used a panini press!! Such a creative {and delicious!} way to cook up barramundi!

  3. What a genius move using the panini press, Carolyn!!

  4. Hi Carolyn! I came across your blog while researching “low carb food blogs” and I am happy I found you. I have a question- do you find it difficult to exercise when eating this way? I ate low carb many years ago to lose over 40 pounds but once I fell in love with exercising, it became much harder to maintain. I am still trying to lose the final pounds but it hasn’t been easy. I am trying though! Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated :)

    • No, I don’t find exercise tough at all on low carb, but I have trained my body to use fat for fuel. I am a serious runner and I also do Crossfit. It can take a while to get your body to the point where it more willingly looks for fat as fuel than stored glycogen. And I do find that for hard fast runs, or for weight lifting, I need a bit of carbs to get me started. I typically eat a high fat/moderate protein breakfast and then will have some fruit before a short fast run or Crossfit. But for long runs, I can eat low carb and have energy, because I am not taxing my muscles as much. I ran my best half marathon on a 2 egg omelet with cheese! I didn’t even need to fuel up mid-race. :)

      • Thank you so much for your response, I appreciate it more than you know :) It has been so hard trying to find the right balance. I love working out but then again I also want to reap the benefits and lose the excess weight I still have. Then, when I feel so deprived and don’t see results, I get frustrated. At this point I am trying to incorporate some healthy carbs for energy to keep myself fueled for exercise. I definitely feel like I have more energy when I eat less carbs thoughout the day though. Would you kindly direct me to high fat foods/ snacks you recommend? I think it’s amazing that you PR’d with a 2 egg omelet with cheese- amazing! :)

        • I can understand the desire for the weight gain to come first. But if you don’t have energy for working out, you aren’t going to work out and then…well, you know! Have you heard of fat bombs? They sound awful but they can be delicious and are a great way to stay low carb. I make mine with coconut oil, cocoa powder, peanut butter and a little butter. I don’t find I need any sweetener, but you can sweeten if you like. Google “fat bombs” and you will see a lot of different ideas for them. Snack wise, I eat a lot of nuts, and if you like coconut, toasting some unsweetened coconut flakes makes a great snack. I also eat a LOT of cheese. And when I am desperate for a bit of sweet and don’t have anything prepared, I take a single square of 90% cacao Lindt chocolate and a smear of peanut butter.

          • I put toasted nuts and shredded coconut in mine. And if I have cocoa butter on hand, I add some of that … It keeps them from being quite so immediately melty. You just reminded me; my batch in the freezer is getting low. Time to make more!

        • Oh, and my go to snack of late has been my Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter. I make them almost every day!

          • Thank you so much for all of the above- you are too kind! I just looked up fat bombs and I’m so excited :) I feel so hopeful when I discover good foods that I can enjoy while maintaining low carb. I appreciate it greatly :) xoxo

      • I think its interesting that even when people see the benefit of going low carb, they often hang onto a fear of fat. What doesn’t seem to work very well is low carb, low fat. Low carb, high fat is really what works best. The fear of fatis a very, very hard cultural bias to overcome. I really can relate.

        • Okay, totally took me a while to figure out the reference here. I thought you were referring to the barramundi recipe but I realize now we are talking about things like fat bombs!

        • Hi Susan, thanks for your input- I agree completely. I am so thankful, though, that high fat is okay while doing low-carb because it makes it a more tasty experience :) Also, it helps keep you full. Have you had weight loss success on low carb? I love hearing other people’s stories :) Also, thanks for the toasted nuts and coconut idea- sounds like a great combo for me. I will definitely try it out!

      • Aishah, hopefuly Carolyn won’t mind another off-topic comment. I started a low carb, gluten free lifestyle last October, and I’m finding I have so much more energy than I used to. I’m losing weight without a huge amount of exercise, but what I do is much easier on my high fat, low carb diet. I eat avacados and olives (black or green) both are high fat. Cashews and almonds are also good high fat snacks. And if you have not educated yourself about the full benefits of a gluten/carb free, high fat diet, see Dr David Perlmutter’s new book, Grain Brain. Dr P is the main adviser to Dr OZ, for those that don’t know, as well as a world renowned neurosurgeon and a certified nutritionist.

        • Carolyn, I made this recipe with Tilapia, and it was wonderful!

        • Thank you so much for your helpful tips, Barb. You helped me remember avocados- I LOVE them. Thanks for reminding me that they are low-carb and delicious. I will definitely be buying some soon! I know that the diet portion of weight loss is SO important and I am really trying hard to finally get where I want to be. Getting the eating part in control is the first step to finally achieving my goal and all the helpful food tips are appreciated so much- thanks again! :)

  5. Your kids sound a lot like mine ;) I’m lucky I only have one picky eater but it’s usually just getting him to take that first bite if he hasn’t had it before. All 4 of them love fish however so that’s a plus! I haven’t seen baramundi in a while I’ll have to hit up T.J.’s!!

  6. I remember seeing barramundi for the first time several years ago and learning how high it was in omega-3’s – love your idea of grilling it on the panini press!

  7. I just got a Panini press – but it only has one temperature setting. Do you think I can still use it for this recipe?

  8. looks and sounds amazing!

  9. I bet my George Foreman grill would do this very well, too. Sounds good.

  10. I like the idea of making it on a pannini press!

  11. Love that you are getting the word out about barramundi – it’s a great fish for people who want mild fish but still the benefits of omega 3s! Never thought to make it on a panini press – smart!

    • Honestly, it’s the best use of my panini press I’ve found. I’ve done it with chicken, with salmon and with mahi mahi too. Same exact recipe!

  12. My daughter cooks a complete dinner on the panini maker. Fish or one side and mixed assortment of vegetables on the other. It tastes like an upscale restaurant. Love the low carb meal.

    Sometimes there are pancakes on one side and bacon and eggs on the other – not low carb. :)

  13. Wonderful idea to cook fish this way! A sobering reminder that fish can be contaminated, but also good to know that this type is OK!

    • I know, it’s so tough to find truly healthy fish. For salmon, I always aim for wild caught, but it’s pricy!

  14. I love that you did this on the panini press. It looks great!

  15. Just realized I never commented here, sorry! I love this fish so much…and so do my kids *high five* – love what you did with it!

Trackbacks

  1. […] at my local Trader Joe’s, I thought it was time to play around a bit. Besides being a sustainably farmed and Omega-3 rich fish, barramundi is incredibly versatile. It’s quite a firm white fish, so it holds together […]

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