Red mullet with fennel and saffron mayonnaise

Red mullet with fennel and saffron mayonnaise

By
From
A Year In My Kitchen
Serves
4

If possible, look for red mullet that are no bigger than your hand and allow two per person. If you can only find medium-sized fish, then allow one each. They should be vibrant rosy pink in colour – shot through with gold flecks. Ask your fishmonger to scale and gut the fish for you.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
8 small red mullet
or 4 medium ones red mullet
5 black peppercorns, crushed
1 orange, halved
4 bay leaves, plus extra to garnish if you like
200ml extra virgin olive oil
3 small, smooth fennel bulbs
50g unsalted butter
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, juiced

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
saffron mayonnaise

Method

  1. Place the red mullet side by side in a dish and prick the skin here and there with a needle. Sprinkle with the crushed peppercorns and squeeze over the orange juice. Add the bay leaves and pour over 150ml of the extra virgin olive oil. Cover and leave to marinate for 3–4 hours in a cool place (preferably not the fridge).
  2. Trim the fennel and cut into quarters. Roughly chop a few of the feathery fronds and set aside. Melt the butter in a sauté pan. When it is foaming, add the fennel and season with a little salt and pepper. Sweat gently for 3 minutes, then add the lemon juice.
  3. Add water to cover and turn the heat up until the liquor is bubbling. Pour in the remaining 50ml extra virgin olive oil and cook for about 15 minutes until the fennel is really tender and the liquor is well reduced. Check the seasoning and set aside.
  4. Remove the red mullet from the dish, reserving the marinade, and pat dry. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat 3 tbsp of the marinade in a large frying pan. When hot, add the red mullet (you will probably need to cook them in two batches). Allow 2 minutes each side for little mullet, about 3 minutes each side for larger fish (it is important that they remain moist).
  6. To serve, divide the fennel among warm plates and lay the fish on top. Add a dollop of saffron mayonnaise or hand round separately in a bowl. Sprinkle with a little chopped fennel frond and garnish each plate with a sprig of bay leaves if you like. Serve at once.
Tags:
seasonal
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