Aromatic Steamed Mullet with Young Vegetables

Aromatic Steamed Mullet with Young Vegetables


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About this recipe: Bay, lime and olive oil create a delicately aromatic sauce for mullet cooked in parcels, topped with a sprinkling of sorrel. Serve with steamed vegetables for a stylish, no-fuss meal.

Jan Cutler

Serves: 4 

  • 550g ready-washed baby new potatoes
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 250g baby carrots
  • 1 lime
  • 4 red mullet fillets, about 100g each
  • 12 thin cucumber slices
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 tsp olive oil
  • 4 small courgettes, halved lengthways
  • 30g fresh sorrel leaves, finely shredded

Prep:10min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:25min 

  1. Boil the potatoes: Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Meanwhile, prepare a large pan of boiling water with a large steamer on top. Cut four pieces of foil, each large enough to enclose a folded fish fillet.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: Arrange the leeks in the steamer with the carrots, in one layer if possible, then set aside. Grate the zest from the lime, or use a zester, and set aside in a small bowl. Cut the lime into quarters.
  3. Make the fish parcels: Lay a fish fillet skin side down on each piece of foil. Top the wide end of each fillet with 3 cucumber slices and a bay leaf. Season to taste. Lightly squeeze a little juice from a lime quarter over each fillet and fold the narrow end over. Top with the squeezed lime quarters. Drizzle 2 tsp olive oil over each. Bring the foil up to enclose the fillets in neat parcels that will fit inside the steamer. Set the parcels aside.
  4. Steam the vegetables: Cook the prepared vegetables in the steamer for 5 minutes. Put the courgettes on top of the part-cooked vegetables, cut sides up. Add the foil parcels and steam for a further 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and the fish is cooked.
  5. Add the flavourings: Open the foil parcels and sprinkle a little lime zest and shredded sorrel into each. Divide the vegetables among four plates. Transfer the fish to the plates using a fish slice or spatula, then pour the juices from the foil over. Serve immediately.


*For red mullet, use sea bass, plaice or lemon sole fillets.
*For sorrel, use parsley, or a mixture of parsley, dill and a little tarragon. Alternatively, for a stronger flavour use rocket or watercress.

…another idea

Chinese-style sea bass: Follow the basic recipe but use sea bass fillets instead of red mullet and omit the lime. Add 1 shredded spring onion and 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger to each fillet instead of the cucumber and bay. Sprinkle them with 1 tsp each of toasted sesame oil, dry sherry and light soy sauce mixed together, instead of the olive oil. Steam 200g baby corn, baby carrots and mange-touts and 200g asparagus stalks (woody ends removed) as step 4, instead of the carrots and leeks. Add 200g halved pak choi in place of the courgettes 4 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Omit the sorrel and sprinkle with a little chopped fresh coriander, if you like. Serve with plain cooked rice.

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