Red Mullet is a rockfish often found in southern French cuisine, delicious grilled with tapenade or as part of yummy seafood soups. It’s a small fish that really brightens up our local fish counters with its gorgeous coral scales and serves as an interior design colour reference in my head.
It’s firm, easy to cook and reputedly very healthy, so the only downside is that it has quite a lot of bones – of the kind that are too big to swallow. I resort to using tweezers to get the bones out, you can see a line of bones on the fillet and once you’re used to it you get pretty quick at removing them, yes it’s a bit of work but well worth the trouble. Always feel the whole fish with your fingers when you’re done, as you should be able to find any errant bones with your fingertips.
The fish shrinks in cooking, so you need to count 3 or 4 fillets per person.
To serve 4 you need:
- 12 Red Mullet Fillets (cleaned of scales and bones)
- 2 Shallots
- 4 Courgettes, cut into thin strips
- 4 Tomatoes, cubed
- A small pot of single cream
- Parsley, chopped
- Roasted Baguette
Put the tomatoes in boiling water for a short time so you can peel of the skin easily, then chop into cubes, trying to discard as many of the seeds as possible. Fry gently in a pan with some olive oil for 15 minutes, set aside.
Now find a big pan for your red mullet, so you can do as many fillets as possible in one go. Heat up some sunflower oil and fry the fish skin down for 3-4 minutes. Once the skin is nice and crispy, turn it over and fry it for another minute on the fillet side. Set aside with some foil over it to keep warm.
Add the chopped shallots and strips of courgette, then deglaze the pan with a bit of water or even better white wine, if you have some open (you can use this recipe as an excuse). Cook the courgettes only for a minute or so, then add the tub of single cream, followed by the parsley. Gently lift the fillets back into the sauce to warm them back up and make use of the fish juices.
Serve up in a deep plate with lots of sauce and add the tomato coulis over the top. I like to serve some thinly sliced, toasted baguette with some garlicky aïoli on the side.
Enjoy all those lovely flavours with a nice glass of rosé and a bunch of impressed-by-your-cooking friends.