Having recently featured as one of our four chefs in FOUR’s latest UK edition, we were over the moon when we found out that Nathan Outlaw (of 2 Michelin starred Restaurant Nathan Outlaw) has just released a new book called Fish Kitchen, just this week! To celebrate it’s launch, here’s a soused red mullet with saffron and carrots recipe taken from its deliciously fishy pages for you to enjoy at home...
Inspired by the classic escabeche, this is one way to get the very best from a red mullet. And, as a bonus, the fish passes its beautiful flavour to the saffrony sousing liquid, which lends a unique flavour to the dressing and carrots. A match made in heaven!
4 small red mullet, about 400g each, or 2 larger fish, scaled, filleted and pin-boned (see pages 192–4)
100ml light rapeseed oil, plus extra for cooking
1 shallot, peeled and diced
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into fine ribbons (using a peeler or mandoline)
75ml white wine vinegar
150ml olive oil
½ garlic clove, peeled
A good pinch of saffron strands
A little light rapeseed oil for cooking
500g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
½ tsp ground cardamom
Cornish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Carrot or coriander leaves
For the carrot purée, heat a drizzle of rapeseed oil in a medium saucepan and add the butter. Once melted, toss in the carrots with the cardamom and sweat for 3 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook over a medium-low heat, without colouring, until soft. Add a bit more water if they begin to stick. Once the carrots are soft, transfer them to a blender and blitz until smooth, adding a little of the cooking liquor to get a good consistency if need be. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for serving.
To souse the fish, heat a non-stick frying pan and add a drizzle of oil. When hot, fry the fillets skin side down for 30 seconds. Transfer to a dish large enough to hold them side by side submerged in the sousing liquor.
Add a touch more oil to the pan and place over a medium-low heat. Add the shallot and carrot ribbons and cook gently, without colouring, for 1 minute. Add the wine vinegar, 100ml rapeseed oil, olive oil, garlic and saffron and bring to a simmer. Season with salt to taste.
Pour the pickling mixture over the red mullet fillets. Cover with cling film so that the fish is held submerged under the liquor and leave for 1½ hours before serving. (Or, if serving the next day, allow to cool, then refrigerate.)
To serve, gently warm the carrot purée. Spoon the carrot ribbons onto plates, lay the soused red mullet on top and drizzle with a little of the oil from the sousing liquor. Spoon the carrot purée alongside. Garnish with carrot
or coriander leaves.
NATHAN OUTLAW’S FISH KITCHEN published by Quadrille (£20)
Photos © DAVID LOFTUS