Red mullet woodcock style

Serves 2
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Red mullet is sometimes called Bécasse de mer (woodcock of the sea) as, like a woodcock, the livers are highly prized. Hugh has mixed the livers here with various, almost Mediterranean, seasonings to emulate the traditional preparation of the woodcock.

2 very fresh red mullet (350-500g), descaled and gutted, livers reserved
1tbsp olive oil
25g unsalted butter
1 small clove of garlic, unpeeled
1 bay leaf
2 green olives, stoned and finely chopped
1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped
1tbsp white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the livers from the fish and set aside. Season the fish. Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the oil and butter, the garlic clove and then add the whole fish. Sizzle gently for about 8-10 minutes, then turn them over and continue cooking for 6-7 minutes or so, until cooked right through. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Keeping the pan on the heat, remove the cooked garlic clove, then peel and chop it – it shouldn't be too burnt if you have cooked the fish gently. Combine it with the chopped olives and anchovy. Add this mixture to the hot pan, along with the livers and wine. Sauté for just half a minute to reduce the wine a little, then remove the pan from the heat and mash everything together with a fork.

Smear this paste over the skin of the mullet, and serve, accompanied by plain mash or sautéed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

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