The strong flavour of mullet is counterbalanced with a punchy, citrus marinade. Served alongside crispy okra fritters and plantain, this is a perfect meal for the summer.
By Frederick Forster
From Saturday Kitchen
For the fritters
40g/1½oz fresh okra, sliced
10g/⅓oz red onion, finely chopped
25g/1oz frozen peas, chopped
1 tbsp roughly chopped flatleaf parsley
pinch chopped garlic
pinch ground cumin
40g/1½oz plain flour, sieved
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
30ml/1fl oz whole milk
30g/1oz crème fraiche
vegetable oil, for shallow frying
For the marinated red mullet
100ml/3½fl oz vegetable oil
100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
3 lemons, juice only
1 orange, juice only
¼ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
30g/1oz carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 small red mullet fillets, scaled and pin-boned
pinch saffron strands
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the plantain
1 green or yellow plantain, peeled and sliced
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
40g/1½oz micro coriander
40g/1½oz micro red basil
40g/1½oz baby watercress
40g/1½oz nasturtium leaves
40g/1½oz nasturtium flowers
20g/¾oz okra, thinly sliced
¼ red chilli (optional)
¼ green chilli (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
150g/5½oz Greek-style yoghurt
1 tbsp plain yoghurt (optional)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.
To make the fritters, mix together the okra, red onion, peas, parsley, garlic and cumin. Add the flour and baking powder and mix in well. Add the egg, milk and crème fraiche and season.
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry tablespoons of the batter (you may need to do this in batches). Once golden-brown on both sides, remove from the pan and drain on a kitchen paper. Finish in the oven for 3–4 minutes.
Mix together the two oils, lemon juice, orange juice, sugar, coriander seeds and a little seasoning. Add the carrots and stir well.
Place in a small pan over a medium heat and warm though to infuse. Set aside to cool.
Cut the mullet fillets in half and rub with a little saffron and salt. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the fillets skin-side down for 5 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden-brown. Turn over and cook only for a few seconds.(The fish should be slightly undercooked.).
Drain the fillets on kitchen paper and then place flesh-side down into the cooled marinating liquid for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a deep-fat fryer or a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan two-thirds full with the oil. Heat to 180C (a cube of bread should turn brown in one minute when dropped in.) CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.. Deep-fry the plantain for 2–minutes until golden-brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Drain on kitchen paper and season with a little salt.
Once the fish has cooled, mix with the herbs, flowers, okra and chilli, if using. Allow to sit for one minute.
To serve, place the fritters on a serving plate. Drizzle with the olive oil and the Greek-style yoghurt. Put the marinated fish alongside with the fried plantain, plain yoghurt, if using, and lemon wedges.