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Crisp Pan-fried Fillets of Red Mullet, Escabèche Sauce with Spring Vegetables and Basil

When Michelin starred chef, Franck Giovannini, prepares a meal, you can be sure you’re going to want to snap it from all angles and this pan fried mullet is no exception. Beautiful to look at and an exquisite ballet of moves to make it. The preparation itself is an artform. Vegetables never looked quite this good before!

 SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS 

  • 8 x red mullet, 140 g each
  • 50 g flour

Chilli Oil 

  • 20 g leek, cut in brunoise
  • 5 cl olive oil

Escabèche Sauce 

  • 100 ml white wine
  • 300 ml vegetable bouillon
  • 40 g carrot, cut in small dice
  • 40 g celery, cut in small dice
  • 40 g courgette, cut in small dice
  • 10 g tomato concentrate
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tomato, peeled and diced
  • Bouquet of thyme,
  • coriander and basil

Garnish

  • 4 cocktail tomatoes
  • Yellow courgettes
  • Green courgettes
  • Black olives
  • Basil oil
  • Balsamic cream

TO SERVE

  • Young basil leaves

 Seasoning                                          

  • Salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce
  • Freshly ground medley of 4 peppercorns,
  • Extra fine sea salt, olive oil

METHOD

Red Mullet 

  1. Remove the scales from the red mullet, separate the fillets and remove the bones using a pair of tweezers.

Chilli Oil 

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.

 

Escabèche Sauce 

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the chopped shallots, salt and pepper and sweat without browning. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato concentrate, deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by a half.
  3. Add the vegetable bouillon, the bouquet of herbs and the diced tomatoes.
  4. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, then add the courgettes and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. The vegetables should be al dente.
  6. Remove the herbs, finish the sauce with a trickle of olive oil. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and a drop of white wine if desired. 

Garnish

  1. Turn the green and yellow courgettes and sauté in olive oil for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the tops of the cocktail tomatoes to form hats. Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes, season the cavity and fill with the brunoise of vegetables and escabèche sauce.
  3. Make the basil oil by mixing 500 g basil leaves with 200g olive oil.
  4. Make the balsamic cream by thickening the balsamic vinegar with potato starch, pre-slaked in cold water.

 

TO SERVE 

  1. Roast the cocktail tomatoes in the oven for 5 minutes at 180°C.
  2. Coat the skin of the red mullet in flour.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan until smoking, then sear the red mullet quickly skin-side down. Continue cooking until the flesh is cooked three-quarters of the way through.
  4. Quickly remove from the pan and place the fillets flesh-side down on a rack.
  5. Season with chilli oil, extra fine sea salt and freshly ground medley of peppercorns.
  6. Arrange the cocktail tomatoes, turned courgettes and black olives attractively on a plate.
  7. Decorate with different-sized spots of balsamic cream, basil oil and the thickened escabèche sauce.
  8. Place the fillets of red mullet on top and decorate with young basil shoots.
  9. Serve the hot sauce on the side.

 

 

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