Thursday, May 21, 2009

Red mullet with grilled peppers

Serves 4 as an appetiser, 2 as a main course

The shellfish, almost gamey like quality of red mullet is perfect with robust flavours like charred peppers and just cooked garlic. You could add prawns or even lobster if you feel like a special treat to really bring this dish up a notch, but the core flavours here are full on and intense already.

2 large red peppers
2 large yellow peppers
4 small red mullet, filleted
2 tblsp olive oil for cooking
2 cloves garlic
Half a glass of rosé wine
2 ripe tomatoes
Small handful fresh oregano or marjoram
Salt and extra virgin olive oil to taste

Char the peppers over a gas flame or under a very hot grill, until the skin is darkened on all sides. Allow them to cool, covered, so that they steam themselves a little. Then push the skins off with your thumb and forefinger. (Don’t be tempted to do this under running water, as you will lose those vital juices and flavours. A hint of charred flavour is ideal for this dish anyway)

Cut the peppers into fairly fine strips. Set them aside. Place the mullet fillets on a chopping board, skin side down. Run your finger gently along the flesh and pull out any small bones you find with tweezers or nail scissors.

Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed frying pan and, when it is almost smoking add the fillets, skin side down. Let them cook briskly for at least two minutes. As soon as you turn them, add the garlic and, a minute later, the pepper strips.

Now add the wine and turn the heat up until the juices go bubbly and glossy. Remove from the heat immediately and season to your liking. Scatter the herbs on top of everything and swirl a reasonably generous amount of extra virgin olive oil over the whole dish.

Serve with little slices of toast for mopping up the oily juices. Don’t give people lemon on the side or the harsh acidity will take over.

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