Red Mullet with Ginger, Garlic and Tomato

Red mullet doesn’t suit creamy sauces. It may be something connected with natural oils in the fish, but the prospects of this fish with cream or mushrooms doesn’t excite me. This sauce reads as strong and dominant but, in fact, tastes gently spicy.

Ingredients

  • 2 × 14 oz (400 g) red mullet
  • salt

Sauce

  • 5 fl oz (150 ml) fish stock or water and wine (see method)
  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 2 oz (50 g) shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 oz (50 g) knob ginger, peeled and very finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small chilli, chopped
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 1 sprig fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

To Complete

  • ½ lemon

Method

The fish

  1. The mullet needs filleting for this dish. The two mullet should give four fat fillets. Score the skin with four or five shallow knife-strokes and season with salt.

The sauce

  1. If you don’t have fish stock, wash the fish trimmings and bones under cold water, then put them in a saucepan with 10 fl oz (300 ml) cold water and a dash of white wine. Bring to the boil and then leave to cool. The liquor you strain off will be an acceptable substitute for stock in this instance.
  2. You need well-flavoured, firm tomatoes such as Italian plum or beefsteak tomatoes. Skin by dropping them into boiling water for a few seconds and then peeling. Cut them into quarters, scoop out and discard the seeds and then cut into ¼ in (6 mm) squares.
  3. Warm the groundnut oil in a saucepan and add the shallots, ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook them for 2 minutes without colouring then add the diced tomato and fish stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the butter, chopped coriander and spring onion. Don’t forget a pinch of salt.

To Complete

  • Turn the fish fillets over on a lightly oiled plate then grill under a high heat with the skin side towards the flame until just cooked. Mullet cooks quite quickly so this should only take 5 minutes under a hot grill.
  • Pour the sauce on to warmed plates. Squeeze the lemon on to the fish, place the fish on top of the sauce, and serve immediately.
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