Fried red mullet with tomato and sardine sauce

Get your fish fix with this Michelin-quality dish from Jason Atherton
By Jason Atherton
Fried red mullet with tomato and sardine sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the mullet wraps

  • 1 small loaf white bread
  • 4 red mullet fillets, 100-125g each, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a few knobs of butter

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 splashes sherry vinegar
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 x 120 g cans of sardines, in tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp vinaigrette, optional

To serve

  • 1 handfuls black olives, halved and pitted
  • Coriander or thyme flowers, optional


1. For the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the shallot, garlic, thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the shallots begin to soften.

2. Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, then add the tomatoes.

3. Cook over a high heat for 4-6 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the sardines and break them up with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes.

4. Tip the mixture into a blender or food processor and whiz to a paste. Push through a coarse sieve into a bowl or pan. For a thicker consistency, boil for a few minutes to reduce.

5. Mix with a little vinaigrette to taste. The sauce can be served warm or at room temperature.

6. For the mullet wraps: Cut the crusts off the loaf of bread, then wrap in a freezer bag and freeze for an hour until firm. Remove and cut the loaf lengthways into thin slices, about 2mm thick- youll need 8 slices (use the rest for breadcrumbs). Let the slices come to room temperature.

7. Check the red mullet for pin bones, removing any you find with tweezers.

8. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper. Wrap each fish fillet in a slice of bread, making sure that the overlapping join is on the boned side of the fillet.

9. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the red mullet wraps and fry for 2 minutes on each side until the bread coating is golden and crispy.

10. Drain on kitchen paper, then place two wraps on each plate and scatter over a few black olives. If you like, garnish with coriander or thyme flowers. Serve a drizzle of the sauce on the side and accompany with a leafy salad.

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