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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Red Mullet Fillets with Green Vegetables & Prawn Noodles

This Asian-inspired dish is what I decided to turn the red mullet fillets I bought today into. I am still exploring my neighbourhood in Brussels, and this afternoon I found out that one of the nearby supermarkets has a decent fish counter. The red mullet fillets reminded me of a dish I always have when I visit Sam's restaurant in Fowey, Cornwall: there, the red mullet is fried in a tempura batter and served with coriander and chilli sauce. I shallow fried my fillets instead, to make the dish less heavy, and accompanied them with noodles, vegetables and prawns tossed in my home made coriander, ginger, garlic and chilli paste.

INGREDIENTS (for two people)
  • Eight fillets of red mullet (if the fish is small; if it's a medium size, then use four)
  • A tablespoon of corn flour
  • Two nests of egg noodles
  • Ten raw king prawns, shell off
  • A handful of baby asparagus
  • A medium courgette
  • Two spring onions
  • A handful of mange-touts
  • A handful of coriander (stalks and leaves)
  • Two garlic cloves
  • One medium shallot
  • A thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • One red chilli - remove the seeds to reduce the heat, if you so wish. I like it hot! ;-)
  • Two tablespoons of coconut milk
  • Sunflower oil
  • Soy sauce
First of all, put the kettle on to boil: place the noodles in a pan and cover them with boiling water. Simmer them for about four minutes, using a fork to entangle the nests. Drain them using a colander, then plonk them in ice-cold water for a few minutes, to stop them from overcooking. Once again drain them well. Heat a glug of sunflower oil in a wok, or heavy bottomed, non stick frying pan. Trasfer the noodles to the pan, season them with soy sauce and let them fry for about six minutes or until crunchy and caramelized. This will give them a wonderful texture and flavour, that will make all the difference to your dish. Transfer them to a plate and set aside for later.

Prep all your vegetables. Rinse them and pat them dry, then slice the courgette into batons; the spring onions into small, round slices; the asparagus in bite-sized chunks. Next, roughly chop the coriander, ginger (peeled and sliced), shallot, garlic and chilli and put them in a food processor together with two tablespoons of sunflower oil, and two of coconut milk. Whizz them to a paste.

Heat once more your wok/frying pan and gently fry your paste for a couple of minutes, until fragrant and coloured.

Add your sliced vegetables to the pan, season with soy sauce and cook for three-four minutes.

Lastly, tip the prawns into the pan. As soon as they turn pink, add the crunchy noodles and toss them with the vegetables and prawns, until heated through. Pour the contents of the pan in a serving platter and transfer to a pre-heated oven at 180°C, to keep warm while you are cooking the mullet.

Take your mullet fillets and quickly toss them in cornflour. Use the same pan you have cooked the noodles in: add a little more sunflower oil to it (the pan should still be very hot; if not, allow it to heat properly) and place the coated fillets in the pan, skin down. Cook for two/three minutes each side, and serve them without delay, alongside the noodles.

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