Broiled red mullet with sauce vierge and toasted fennel seeds


by: Stacia

I’ve chosen to use red mullet, but lots of other white fish suit the light oriental flavours in this recipe - try gilthead bream or line-caught sea bass.


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serves: 4

4 (6-oz/175-g) red mullet (cleaned and trimmed)

A little melted butter, for brushing

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon Pernod

1/4 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 small garlic clove (minced)

4 vine-ripened cherry tomatoes (skinned, seeded, and cut into small dice)

Maldon sea salt flakes

Coarsely crushed black pepper

4 small dried heads of fennel seeds (or a small pinch of ordinary fennel seeds)

10 whole tarragon leaves

Nutrition Facts
Broiled red mullet with sauce vierge and toasted fennel seeds

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 232

  • Total Fat: 15.5 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 20.8 mg
  • Sodium: 143.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 14.2 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
  •     Sugars: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 11 g

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1.  Work under cold running water or over several sheets of newspaper. Grip the fish by its tail and scrape it from the tail toward the head, working against the direction in which the scales lie, using a fish scaler or the blade of a blunt, thick-bladed knife.

2.  Cut away the dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins using a strong pair of kitchen scissors.

3.  Slit open the belly of the fish from the anal fin up to the head and pull out the guts.

4.  With a small knife, cut away any remaining pieces of gut left behind in the cavity, then wash it out with plenty of cold water.

5.  Preheat the broiler. Slash the skin of the mackerel at 1/2-inch (1-cm) intervals on both sides, from the head all the way down to the tail, taking care not to cut too deeply into the flesh.

6.  Brush the red mullet on both sides with melted butter and season inside and out with salt and pepper.

7.  For the sauce, put the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, Pernod, soy sauce, garlic, and tomatoes in a small pan with some Maldon salt to taste and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.

8.  Preheat the broiler. lf you have some fennel seed heads, put them, seed-side up, on a baking sheet and broil for a few seconds until they are starting to smoke and have darkened slightly in color. Remove and add about 10 seeds to the pan of sauce. Set aside the rest for garnishing. Alternatively, lightly toast the pinch of dried fennel seeds in a hot, dry frying pan for a few seconds until they start to smell aromatic, then add these to the pan of sauce.

9.  Brush another baking pan really well with ordinary olive oil and put under the broiler to get hot. Remove, add the red mullet, and broil, 4 inches (10 cm) from the heat, on one side only for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Just before the fish is cooked, warm through the sauce over a very low heat, then add the whole tarragon leaves.

10.  Lift the red mullet onto four warmed plates and garnish with toasted fennel seed heads, if using. Spoon a tablespoon of the sauce alongside the fish and serve with some fries cooked in olive oil.

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