Here in France these pretty little babies are called rouget barbet. I had these once at our town’s 2 star Michelin restaurant, La Madeleine, and couldn’t get them out of my mind. That was about 3 or 4 years ago!
Jade says they have a “soft” or mild flavor and scarfed down two plates of this appetizer.
This was not very difficult to make. I seasoned the mullet and set it aside, then prepared the zucchini and then the sauce. The fish fillets are fried for about a minute or less per side, depending on the fillet size.
Steamed and buttered zucchini
Saffron sauce with shallots
After that, it was just a matter of plating up; Saffron sauce on the bottom, zucchini, mullet and mixed young sprouts/mache on top.
Red Mullet Fillets with Saffron Sauce
250 g red mullet fillets
3 small zucchini
1 large shallot, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup of milk
1 pinch of saffron threads
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Salt and pepper
Steam the zucchini for about 10-15 minutes. Slice and toss in 1 tablespoon of the butter. Set aside and keep warm.
Saute the shallot in the remaining tablespoon of butter until soft. Mix in the flour, stirring for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk and continue stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the saffron and lemon juice and stir for 1 minute. Add the creme fraiche and blend. Add salt to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
Season the mullet with salt and pepper on both sides. Fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 minute per side.
Ladle a bit of the sauce in the center of a plate, add some zucchini, position the mullet on top of the zucchini and top with mache/young sprouts.
Wine suggestion: Bailly Lapierre Cremant of Bourgogne