Red Mullet Escabeche

Adam Byatt adds a tangy, spicy marinade to fish fillets in this classic Spanish recipe, ideal as a light starter
By Adam Byatt
Red Mullet Escabeche
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4 as a starter
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 4 hr marinating
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 red mullet
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 4 star anise
  • 20 coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • pinches saffron
  • 3 large carrots, finely sliced
  • 1 heads fennel, finely sliced
  • 1 white onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 bunches basil, leaves removed and finely sliced
  • 1 punnet basil


1. Fillet and pin-bone the mullet, then rinse and dry and arrange in a single layer in a shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan, add the spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the sliced vegetables, season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften.

3. Add the white wine vinegar and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Pour in the white wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by one third.

4. Add the water and bring to a rapid boil. Cook for 5 minutes, add the chopped basil.

5. Drain off any salty water that has come out of the mullet. Pour over the sauce, cover the dish with cling film and leave to cool and marinate for 4 hours. Serve with a garnish of basil shoots.

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