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Fish of the month recipe for Mullet, Red, Striped red mullet

Garganelli with red mullet

Garganelli with red mullet

Ingredients

3 tablespoons black olives (such as Tagiasche)
2 small fillets or 2 large fillets of red mullet (ask your fishmonger to give you the bones and the liver)
2 tomatoes
40 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
half a wine glass of white wine
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
400g dried garganelli
one handful of parsley, finely chopped (keep back the stalks for the stocks, below)
Stock:
10 ml olive oil
half a carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
half an onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1 stick celery, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
2 peppercorns
the talks from the parsley
bones from the red mullet (see above)
half a wine glass of white wine
half a tablespoon tomato paste

Serves 4

Preparation

First take the butter out of the fridge to let it soften. Pit the olives To make the stock, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the vegetables, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley stalks. Sweat for a couple of minutes to soften, but not colour. Add the red mullet bones and continue to cook until the bones start to stick to the pan. Add the white wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated completely. Add the tomato paste and carry on cooking over a low heat for another two minutes or so, taking care that the paste does not burn. Add a little water, enough to almost cover but not quite Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes Pass through a fine sieve and keep on one side Put the butter in a bowl Crush the mullet liver, preferably with a pestle and mortar, or with a rolling pin, or hand blender. Then mix with the butter it should be a nice, pink colour Chop the red mullet fillet or fillets, and keep at room temperature Get a large pan of boiling, salted water ready (see note) Put in the fresh tomatoes, and let them blanche for about 10 seconds, take them out with a slotted spoon, put them under the cold tap, then peel them. Cut into half and de-seed, then cut each half into four, so that you have eight pieces Heat half of the olive oil in a large saute pan. Because you want to cook the garlic (so that it is digestible) but not burn it, (or it will be bitter), it is a good idea to tilt the pan a little, so the oil flows into one spot, an put in your garlic so it can cook in this depth of oil. That way it will be less likely to burn. Cook it gently for a few minutes until it starts to colour Add the red mullet and cook for 1-2 minutes until the fish starts to stick to the pan. Keep scraping it and it will crumble Add the white wine, then the fresh tomato and olives. Finally add the tomato passata and cook for another 2-3 minutes Meanwhile cook the pasta in the boiling water for about a minute less that then time given on the packet (usually 6-7 minutes) Drain the pasta (keeping back some of the cooking water) and add the pasta to the sauce with the rest of the olive oil Just before serving, beat in the liver butter with a wooden spoon. Finish with the chopped parsley

Cooking

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Giorgio Locatelli

Giorgio Locatelli

Born into a cooking dynasty in Corgeno on the shores of Lake Comabbio in Northern Italy, Giorgio Locatelli is considered by many to be one of the finest Italian chefs in the UK and the world. At his Michelin starred restaurant, Locanda Locatelli, Giorgio serves traditional Italian dishes, emphasising the quality and freshness of the produce as well as adding his own creative touch. Giorgio has had a column in the Guardian and written a number of bestselling books, most recently Made In Sicily published by Fourth Estate in 2011.

My connection with seafood

In our house in Corgeno, we always had fish on Fridays, and often two or three more times during the week, but I only rarely saw anything other than the freshwater fish from Lago Comabbio. I understood from an early age that if we are not going to rob the sea of its treasure forever, we have to learn to enjoy different varieties of fish..even if they are not as fashionable.

Why sustainability is important to me

The use of sustainable fish wherever possible is incredibly important to me. It is imperative that I know where ingredients come from and that they are sourced as close as possible to the fishermen and fisheries. The extent of the depletion of certain stocks is shocking and as a restaurateur it is my responsibility to use alternatives.

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