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Be inspired every day with Living North
red mullet fish cooking on a make shift barbecue Andrew Montgomery
July 2022
Reading time 2 Minutes
Over the summer months, keep an eye out for these pretty pink fish on the fishmonger’s ice counter. If they look colourful, bright-eyed and firm, grab them before someone else does. They’re absolutely stunning on the barbecue and a joy to eat slowly in the garden. I’m pairing them up with some fiery homemade chorizo and some crispy parsley toasts. I like to bring everything to the table with a big bowl of aïoli and some green salad. And maybe, just maybe, some freshly cooked chips.
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying the chorizo
  • 2 red mullet (each about 400–500g), scaled and gutted
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, bashed
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the chorizo
  • 200g minced pork (it doesn’t want to be too lean)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • a good pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • For the parsley toasts
  • 2 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • a good pinch of flaky sea salt

Begin by mixing together all the ingredients for the chorizo, making sure you mix in all the spices thoroughly. Pop the chorizo mixture in the fridge until needed.

Take the fish out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you intend to cook them. Light your barbecue and when the flames have burned back and you have a bed of hot, glowing embers, you’ll be ready to cook.

Set a small pan down on the grill and add a dash of oil. When it’s hot, crumble in the chorizo. Sizzle the spicy sausage, stirring regularly, until it begins to form little crisp crumbs and nuggets, and is cooked through. Keep warm.

While the chorizo is cooking, place the red mullet on a board and trickle over the two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Scatter over the bashed fennel seeds, the chilli flakes and some salt and pepper. Pop the rosemary sprigs into the cavity of each fish. Make sure the grill is lovely and clean, then carefully lay the fish down. Don’t be tempted to disturb them for at least five minutes. You want the skin to begin to crisp, which will help it not to stick. Use a flat spatula to ease the mullet up off the grill so you can sneak a peek at the underside. It should be crisp and blistered in places. Turn the fish – don’t worry if you tear the skin, it’s not the end of the world. Cook the fish on the second side for a similar amount of time. You can check it’s done by inserting the tip of a knife into the fillet and checking whether the flakes separate and lift away from the bone with ease.

The toasts are easy – just grill the bread over the fire until it’s golden and crunchy, trickle with extra-virgin olive oil and cover in parsley and a little salt. Enjoy!

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