Olive Magazine

Whitby red mullet soup

Published: December 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + 24 hours’ marinating
  • Easy
  • serves 4

Marinated red mullet and flambéed vegetables come together in this delicious soup. Serve with plenty of bread to mop up the juices.



  • 5 small red mullet, heads left on but eyes and gills removed
  • olive oil
  • a small pinch saffron
  • a small pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • ¼ head celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 250ml passata
  • 5 tbsp Pernod
  • 5 tbsp cognac
  • 1 litre fish stock
  • ½ cooked potato, peeled and sliced
  • grated to serve


  • 2 yolks egg
  • 50g potato, mashed
  • 1 hard-boiled egg yolk, finely chopped
  • 2 pinches saffron strands
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 200ml olive oil


  • STEP 1

    Chop each fish into 3-4 pieces, wash in cold water and put everything, including heads, in a dish. Mix 3-4 tbsp oil with the saffron and cayenne pepper, rub it into the fish, cover, then leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

  • STEP 2

    Heat a little of the oil marinade in a large pan and cook the onion, celery, fennel and crushed garlic until golden. Add the tomatoes and when the liquid has almost disappeared, stir in the passata. Cook gently for about 10 minutes.

  • STEP 3

    Meanwhile, remove the mullet from the marinade and fry separately in batches until golden brown all over.

  • STEP 4

    Pour the pernod and cognac over the vegetables and flambé. When the flame has subsided, reduce the liquid until the alcohol has evaporated. add the mullet. Cover with the fish stock and add the potato. Simmer gently for 1½ hours.

  • STEP 5

    To make the rouille, mix the egg yolks, potato, hard-boiled egg yolk, saffron and garlic in a bowl. Add the oil slowly, whisking constantly until the sauce is thick. Season with salt.

  • STEP 6

    Remove the thyme and season. Discard any clams or mussels that haven’t opened. Sprinkle with parsley or basil and serve with plenty of bread to mop up the juices.


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