Red mullet escabeche with olive tapenade


  • Serves 4 people

  • 170 ml olive oil
  • 8 small red mullet (barbounia) fillets, pin-boned
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced widthways
  • 1 golden shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) red wine vinegar
  • Olive tapenade
  • 50 gm pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tsp salted capers, rinsed
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil
01   Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over high heat, cook fish skin-side down for 30 seconds or until lightly golden, then transfer to a baking dish skin-side up.
02   Heat remaining olive oil in a saucepan to 90C on a thermometer, then carefully add all ingredients except red wine vinegar. Remove from heat, add red wine vinegar and stir to combine. Pour over mullet, cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-6 hours or overnight.
03   For olive tapenade, combine all ingredients except olive oil in a mortar and, using a pestle, pound to a smooth paste. Add olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Makes about ½ cup.
04   To serve, arrange fish fillets on plates and scatter with vegetables and herbs from marinade. Stir marinade to combine oil and vinegar, then spoon over fish and top with a teaspoon of tapenade.
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