Red mullet is abundant in the Mediterranean and when it is in season it is also a relatively cheap fish. I loved the taste of this fish but when I was young I was sometimes hesitant of eating this fish particularly because of the small bones. Along the years, this has changed though because of young children I normally tried to avoid cooking fish which have small bones.
But when I found fresh red mullet at our fishmonger I could not resist particularly since it was a nice sunny day. Red mullet is a versatile fish and one which can be found not only in the Mediterranean but also in the North as well.
I tried to retain the pure flavours of the red mullet while making it simple to eat. If I had to take the nostalgic route, I would have coated the fish in flour and then pan-fried it whole.
Instead I filleted the fish, removed the bones and then pan-fried the fish. When it comes to cooking fish, I prefer to use the Mediterranean approach of keeping things simple and not using butter or complicated sauces. To accompany the fish, I prepared a salsa with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, parsley and taggiasche olives and broad beans. The end result was like a trip to the Mediterranean.
Don’t hesitate to ask your fishmonger to fillet your red mullet. You can also use the salsa to accompany any Mediterranean fish such as tuna and swordfish. You can experiment with the salsa by adding shallots, vinegar, lemon and capers. For the delicate flavour of the red mullet, I preferred to keep it as simple as possible.
- 4 red mullet fillets
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 tables spoons extra virgin olive oil
- a few tarragon leaves
- 12 taggiasche olives
- a handful of chopped parsley
- Broad beans
- Sea salt
Fillet the red mullet. Run your thumb over the fillets to make sure there are no bones left. Put them in a plate and drizzle olive oil. Combine a chopped garlic clove and tarragon and season. Leave in the refrigerator for around an hour.
To prepare the salsa, chop the cherry tomatoes, put in a bowl and mix with extra virgin olive oil. For this recipe I used a splendid olive oil from Tuscany which works extremely well with the tomatoes and olives. Season with salt. Chop and add the parsley and olive oil and mix until the ingredients are combined.
Boil water and season. Blanch the broad beans for a minute, remove and put into iced cold water. Peel the broad beans and season with salt and olive oil.
Once you are ready to serve, serve the broad beans on a plate. Heat a frying pan with extra-virgin olive oil (use the oil from the marinated fish and add more if necessary) Pan-fry the red mullet fillets skin-side down and leave them to crisp. Switch on the oven, baste the fillets with the olive oil and when you see that the fish is nearly ready place in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the oven, plate the red mullet and add the salsa. Serve with new potatoes.