Grilled Fillets of Red Mullet with Caviar and Pepper Coulis

Ingredients

  • 4 × 200–250 g (7–9 oz) red mullet
  • salt and pepper
  • a dash of lemon juice

For the Marinade

  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) virgin olive oil
  • sprig of fresh basil
  • bay leaf
  • sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 strips lemon zest, blanched
  • a few black peppercorns, crushed

For the Caviar Cream

  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 leaves basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • sprig of fresh thyme
  • bay leaf
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) Noilly Prat
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) dry white wine
  • mullet bones
  • 150 ml (¼ pt) water
  • 100 ml ( oz) whipping cream
  • a dash of lemon juice
  • 2 tbls Beluga caviar

For the Pepper Coulis

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 piece of orange zest
  • 4 tbls virgin olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, cored and diced
  • 3 shallots, finely sliced sprig of fresh thyme
  • bay leaf
  • sprig of tarragon
  • sprig of fresh basil salt
  • white peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tbls tomato purée
  • 450 g (1 lb) ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 150 ml (¼ pt) clear fish consommé

For the Garnish

  • a little clarified butter
  • salt and pepper
  • mullet livers
  • 4 garlic
  • croûtons
  • cooked baby fennel (optional)
  • 4 spirals of pasta, cooked (optional)

Method

To prepare the marinade, combine all the ingredients together in a large flat dish.

Scale and clean the mullet (keep the livers for garnish) then fillet them. Save the bones to make stock for the caviar cream and put the fillets in the marinade, ideally leaving overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

To make the caviar cream, melt the butter in a pan that may be used in the oven. Add the shallots, star anise, basil, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cook but do not colour. Deglaze the pan with the Noilly Prat. Reduce the liquid by fast boiling until almost dry.

Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the red mullet bones and moisten with the water. Bring to the boil, removing all scum that rises to the surface. Cover with some butter paper or foil and put a lid on top. Place in the oven and cook for approximately 10 minutes.

Remove the stock from the oven and strain the liquid through a conical sieve, then through a muslin cloth. Pour the stock into another pan and reduce the liquid by fast boiling to a light syrup consistency. Add the whipping cream, boil and reduce by half by fast boiling. Correct the seasoning.

Acidulate the cream by adding a few drops of lemon juice, then finally add the Beluga caviar. Keep warm but do not allow it to boil as this will cause the sauce to split and the caviar to congeal, giving the cream a bitter and unpleasant taste.

To make the pepper coulis, boil the orange juice and remove any scum which rises to the surface to clarify it. Reserve on the side. Blanch the orange zest in boiling water then refresh it in ice cold water. Strain and repeat this process twice.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the pepper, shallots, thyme, bay leaf, tarragon, basil, salt and peppercorns. Add the tomato purée and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Moisten with the orange juice and add the tomatoes, garlic and orange zest.

Add the fish consommé, bring the liquid to the boil and skim. Correct the seasoning and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Liquidize and return the coulis to the stove. Boil again and skim off any scum. Pass through a conical sieve and keep warm.

Remove the fillets of mullet from the marinade and put them on a tray under a moderate grill for approximately four minutes. Season and sprinkle with a little lemon juice.

To prepare the garnish, heat a little clarified butter in a small sauté pan and fry the seasoned red mullet livers for approximately 10 seconds. Turn out the livers on to kitchen paper to absorb and eliminate excess fat, then place them on the garlic croûtons. As an option you can use cooked fennel or pasta as a garnish.

Arrange the red mullet on the plate and pour a cordon of the pepper coulis one side of the fillets and the caviar cream on the other. Top with a prepared croûton to finish.

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