Easy barramundi corn chowder with rosemary, cauliflower and bacon. A healthy, easy fish chowder that's ready in under an hour using a handful of ingredients from the freezer!
This post is sponsored by my friends at The Better Fish®.
I hope you're ready for a bowl of warm and cozy today, because we're about to do a swan dive riiiiiiight on into this barramundi fish chowder (which also has corn and cauliflower and rosemary, OH MY).
If you haven't tried it before, here's a quick barramundi Q&A for ya:
What does barramundi taste like? It's a meaty white fish with a buttery, mild flavor. It holds up well to sauces and doesn't overpower more delicate flavors. It's fish, but it's not too "fishy." If you like things like cod, halibut, or snapper, you'll love it!
Why are you so obsessed with barramundi? First, it tastes good. Second, it's sustainably raised and harvested! I personally know the team behind The Better Fish® (CEO Josh Goldman even made an appearance on the At The Table Podcast!) and for years have been blown away by their commitment not just to raising and harvesting THEIR fish with the environment in mind, but to improving their industry as a whole.
What makes it sustainable? Barramundi eat low on the food chain, which means they're efficient and low-impact to raise. They're also the first ocean-farmed fish to receive a Best Choice rating from Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch program. For more on exactly how The Better Fish® ensures sustainability and stewards their environment, listen to Josh's episode of At The Table!
I've never seen barramundi. Where do you buy it? The Better Fish® has a handy store locator you can use, and it's available at Whole Foods and many other grocery stores nationwide.
Is it expensive? Nope - it's very affordable! I can pick up a family pack of frozen fillets at our local bulk store for under $20 - enough for three or four different meals - and it keeps in the freezer for a long time.
We're keeping this barramundi corn chowder on the lighter side: the base is mostly vegetable stock with just a splash of cream, and our veggie situation is a simple blend of corn and cauliflower (no potatoes today!)
If a potato-less chowder freaks you out a lil' bit, I understand. I am a POTATO. PERSON. But in all honesty, I didn't miss the potatoes at all here. The cauliflower really does do a good job of bringing everything together. Pinky promise!
This recipe is very forgiving, so don't be afraid to mix up the fish and veggies to suit your tastes!
I used just one barramundi fillet here, but you could definitely double (or even triple!) the amount of fish. Extra veggies like roasted poblano or red peppers, kale, spinach, broccoli, or even (GASP) potatoes would also be great additions.
Alright. Ready for that swan dive we talked about? Because this chowder is calling your naaaaaame! I can feel it.
An easy, creamy barramundi corn chowder ready in under an hour with a handful of ingredients from the freezer.
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon, roughly chopped
- ½ large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 2.5 cups vegetable stock
- 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried rosemary), leaves stripped and roughly chopped
- 1 defrosted The Better Fish® barramundi fillet (about 6 oz)
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
- 1 cup roughly chopped cauliflower florets (frozen is fine)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. (I love my Le Creuset for soups like this!)
- Cook the chopped bacon in the pot until crispy, then use a slotted spoon to remove it to a paper-towel lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the pot and return the pot to the stove over medium-low heat. You want about 3 Tbsp. of fat left in the pot - if there's too much, you can drain a bit off.
- Add onion and garlic to pot and stir. It will cook quickly - just stir frequently to keep it from burning!
- Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
- Add flour to pot and stir until it's been absorbed by any remaining liquid. Cook it for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add the vegetable stock to the pot a little at a time, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. It will thicken quickly at first - that's what you want! Continue stirring until all stock has been added and all flour lumps have been worked out.
- Add chopped rosemary to pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes until soup has thickened to your desired consistency.
- Add barramundi fillet to pot and cook for 7-10 minutes until fish is bright white and flakes easily - you should be able to easily break the whole fillet into small chunks with a spoon or spatula!
- Add corn, cauliflower, and heavy cream to soup and stir to combine. Return soup to a low simmer to heat the vegetables through, and then turn off the heat. Taste and add seasoning as necessary.
- Serve soup immediately and garnish with the crispy bacon you cooked earlier and a sprig of parsley (optional).
This recipe is very forgiving. Double or even triple the amount of barramundi if you like, or add some extra veggies (like peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach, or potatoes!
Omit the bacon if you'd like an even lighter chowder - just use 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil or butter to sauté the onions and garlic (in place of the bacon fat).
You don't necessarily have to roughly chop the bacon before you cook it - it just helps it cook faster. Feel free to cook the pieces whole and crumble it up later.
If the soup is too thick, add an extra splash of cream or vegetable stock to loosen it up. Too thin? Cook it a bit longer until it thickens or add a few teaspoons of cornstarch slurry (mix 2 parts water with 1 part cornstarch) to help it along.
If you have time, build some extra flavor into the soup by roasting the barramundi and cauliflower with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees F until cooked through, then add roasted fish and cauliflower to the soup.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Use thyme instead of rosemary. Use pancetta instead of bacon. Use coconut milk, regular milk, half and half, or almond milk in place of cream. Use fish stock in place of vegetable stock if you'd like more of a fish flavor. I don't like my fish soup to be TOO fishy, so I opt for vegetable stock! If you can't find barramundi, you can use cod, tilapia, halibut, salmon, or smoked salmon. This recipe is also tasty with sausage or shredded chicken.
ADVANCE PREP: You can chop the garlic, onion, and cauliflower ahead of time and store them in airtight containers in the fridge until you're ready to use them.
Lighten this soup up even more by swapping our favorite Magic Cauliflower Cream for the heavy cream in this recipe!