Red mullet with Spanish sauce

Red mullet with Spanish sauce

Salmonetes com molho à espanhola

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This dish is not complex, but it really shines when you cook it with top-quality red mullet, such as the ones found along the Portuguese coast. Ideally, the fish should be deep red in colour and the flesh blue-ish and incredibly sweet. The sauce is an adaptation of molho à espanhola (Spanish sauce), and the rich red mullet has a shellfish-like flavour that goes perfectly with it. Despite the fact that we share a long border with Spain, there are very few examples of the Portuguese or Spanish making positive references to each other in their cooking or, indeed, anything else.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
60ml sherry vinegar
1 lemon, Freshly squeezed juiced
1 bay leaf
a sprig parsley
3-4 red mullet livers

For the red mullet

Quantity Ingredient
4 red mullet fillets, pin boned, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
smoked paprika, to taste
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

Method

  1. To make the sauce — Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add all the sauce ingredients except the red mullet livers and cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft. In a separate bowl, mix the red mullet livers with 40ml water to make a loose paste. Stir in this into the pan and cook for another few minutes. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. Remove the parsley sprig.
  2. To cook the red mullet — Season the fish with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat the olive oil in a small pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the fish skin-side down and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Pour the sauce over the fish and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to serve.
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