Red Mullet is classified as a round white fish, but with a higher fat content than most, the flesh is moist and full of flavour. There are 2 main types of Red Mullet landed in the UK, both a mottled pink in colour and one with a thin yellow stripe running along its body.
Red Mullet is generally available from May to November in the UK.
Both species are generally thought to be at their best weighing under 500g. Consequently, they are great fish to bake whole or on the barbeque.
Mediterranean Red Mullet with Tomatoes & Black Olives
Throughout the Mediterranean, Red Mullet is traditionally cooked with tomatoes and herbs. Black olives, peppers and vermouth add extra southern flavour. Try serving with crushed new potatoes dressed with olive oil.
4 red mullet fillets, skin on, about 125g each
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dry vermouth or dry sherry
1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence or handful of fresh thyme
350g plum tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
8 large stoned black olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley
Lightly season the fish fillets and brush the flesh with a little of the oil.
To make the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a shallow pan and gently fry the garlic, pepper and shallot for about 8 minutes until they are softened.
Stir in the vermouth or sherry and cook until it is reduced by half. Add the dried herbs, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Near the end of the cooking, stir in the olives and parsley and adjust the seasoning.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in an iron grill pan or a heavy-based non-stick frying pan and cook the fish fillets, skin side down, for 4 minutes. Turn them carefully and cook for a further 2-4 minutes until they are opaque and flake easily. Or you can grill the fillets in a lightly oiled grill pan under a high heat for about 4 minutes on each side.
To serve, spoon the sauce onto the plate, place a fillet on top of each, skin side up, and serve garnished with a little extra parsley.