Red mullet with Provençale sauce

Red mullet with Provençale sauce


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About this recipe: This rosy-skinned Mediterranean fish is traditionally cooked with tomatoes and herbs. Black olives, peppers and vermouth add extra southern flavour. Try serving with a ribbon pasta such as linguine, or boiled new potatoes or rice.

Brenda Houghton

Serves: 4 

  • 4 red mullet fillets, skin on, about 125 g (4½ oz) 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
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence or oregano
  • 350 g (12 oz) plum tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
  • 8 large stoned black olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley

Prep:20min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:40min 

  1. Lightly season the fish fillets and brush the flesh with a little of the oil.
  2. 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.
  3. Stir in the vermouth 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.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a ridged, iron grill pan or a heavy-based nonstick 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.
  5. Spoon the sauce onto four dinner plates, place a fillet on top of each, skin side up, and serve.

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