Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Roast Fillet of Grey Mullet, Bouillabaise Jus

Ever even heard of grey mullet before ? red mullet maybe or seen it on a menu or in the local fishmongers and thought mmm.. not sure might just stick with the old favourites you know the ones - all the species that are on the unsustainable and nearly extinct list!!! Take note though because grey mullet is almost a 1/3 cheaper than most other well known fish and it is a small round fish which looks similar to a Seabass but with a distinctive grey/silver shine to the skin and comes in similar size to the bass although the grey mullet does have a more dense texture but is certainly full of flavour
Time for a change try this delicious recipe and i am certain you will change your mind - we recently had this on in the restaurant as part of a 6 course tasting menu and this dish was the intermediate fish course and it went down a storm (sorry no more seafaring jokes i promise )
The sauce is a take on a classic french bouillabaise without the hassle of the different elements just the beautiful fresh flavours of the bouillabaise in a rich decadent sauce and is a match for just about any other fish
but in all seriousness do not worry this dish is within every competent cooks reach !!!

Roast Fillet of Grey Mullet, Bouillabaise Jus

2 large fillets from a 2-3kg Grey Mullet (ask your fishmonger to scale and pinbone for you will be great to do yourself but will save a lot of time in the long run)
50ml vegetable oil
2 litre fresh fish stock
3 whole fennel heads chopped
3 whole small white onions chopped
1 celery chopped
3g Saffron filaments
100ml Pernod or Vermouth
100ml White wine
3 Bay leaf
2 Star anise
5 cloves of Garlic crushed
1 whole Orange skin only but no pith
6 whole beef tomatoes chopped and deseeded
1 bunch Dill chopped stalks reserved
35g diced cold butter

Portion the Grey Mullet to the size you require and give a thorough wash and pat dry season the fish with sea salt and white pepper and leave to one side
In a large thick based saucepan heat a little vegetable oil and start to sweat (cook without colouring) the garlic and onions until soft and translucent then add the celery, fennel and saffron cook for a further 2 mins until the saffron starts to release some of its aromatics you should have a wonderful aromatic soft vegetable mass add the pernod and white wine and reduce by 1/2.
Add the bay leaf, star anise, orange and tomatoes and cook until a puree then finally add the fish stock and reduce by 1/2 again it should have the consistency of a thick broth.
Remove from heat and let cool for a couple of mins and then blend ideally using a stick blender once the sauce is a smooth thick consistency pass through a conical sieve or strainer but not too fine as you want to keep most of that flavour within the sauce, once passed reserve the sauce for later.
Now time for the mullet heat a non-stik pan until it is just smoking slightly then add a little olive oil and place the fish skin side down into the pan and hold slightly to prevent the fish from curling up, leave on skin side until the edges turn a golden brown and then turn you should have a beautifully crisp skin cook for a further 5 mins and then remove from heat and add a little butter once off heat to creat a nice glaze for the fish.
Reheat the sauce and add the chopped dill and the extra butter to give the sauce a good finish

i like to serve this with buttered spinach and fresh bread at home or at work we usually serve with a fine dice of sunblushed tomatoes,maris piper potatoes, celery, leek and fennel placed into a ring and sit the mullet on top surrounded by the sauce and finish with a little fennel cress

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