Red mullet with aubergine, caper and pine nut relish

Red mullet with aubergine, caper and pine nut relish

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
4 medium red mullet, each about 250–350 g
1 large aubergine
2 garlic cloves
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to brush
2 small shallots
1/2 bunch tarragon
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon
1 small red pepper
30g pine nuts
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
50ml Brown chicken and veal stock
1-2 teaspoons pedro ximenez sherry
1 tablespoon small capers, drained and rinsed
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Descale, gut and fillet the red mullet and set aside. Heat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Cut very shallow incisions, 1–2 mm deep, through the skin of the aubergine, from the stem end to the bottom, every 2–3 cm. Place on the gas hob with the heat turned up high, or under a hot grill. Turn every few minutes using tongs, until all the skin is black and blistered, then transfer the aubergine to a baking sheet.
  3. Brush the garlic cloves with a little olive oil and put them on the baking sheet with the aubergines. Bake in the oven until both are completely soft, about 30 minutes. The garlic may be soft before the aubergine, in which case remove it from the tray and leave the aubergines to cook for longer.
  4. Meanwhile, halve, peel and finely dice the shallots and coarsely chop enough tarragon and parsley leaves to give you 1 tablespoon each. Finely grate the lemon zest and squeeze the juice.
  5. Blacken, peel and deseed the red pepper and cut into small dice. Toast the pine nuts on a baking tray in the oven for 5 minutes, or until light golden brown, then tip onto a plate to cool.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the shallots and sweat gently until very soft. Remove half the shallots and reserve for the relish. Add the tarragon, sherry vinegar and stock to the pan and simmer gently. When the liquid is reduced to about 2 teaspoons, remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little.
  7. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves to release the soft insides. When the aubergine is cooked, leave to cool a little, then peel off the skin, cut off the stalk and discard. Roughly chop the flesh, put into a sieve and leave to drain for 10–15 minutes.
  8. Transfer the shallot mixture to a blender with one-third of the drained aubergine and the squeezed garlic. Blend to a smooth purée; the shallot and tarragon should break down completely.
  9. Scoop the mixture into a bowl, taste again and add the remaining aubergine, the sherry and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Heat the grill to its highest setting.
  10. To make the relish, mix together the reserved shallot, capers, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and the lemon zest, with enough lemon juice to balance the dressing. Add the pine nuts, pepper and parsley, and season. Set aside.
  11. Season the red mullet fillets and place them skin side up on a lightly oiled baking tray. Grill for 3–5 minutes, depending on size, until cooked and the skin is bubbling and browning.
  12. Divide the aubergine purée between 4 plates. Place 2 red mullet fillets on the purée and spoon a little of the relish over the fillets.


  • The aubergine purée and relish also goes well with grilled lamb cutlets or roasted loin or rump of lamb, or even simple pan-fried chicken breasts.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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