Chilli red mullet fritters with tomato and olive relish

Serves 6 Starters and mains

Links220712 049 Chilli Red Mullet Fritters



  • 4 red or grey mullet, mackerel or sea bass (each 300–400g), filleted, skinned and pin-boned, bones, livers and trimmings reserved for the stock
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 2 banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 100g chargrilled red peppers in vinegar brine, finely diced 1⁄2tsp chilli powder
  • 2tsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 120g plain flour, plus 50g extra to coat
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g breadcrumbs

For the fish stock

  • drizzle olive oil
  • 200ml dry white wine

For the tomato and olive relish

  • 500g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 2tsp allspice berries
  • 2tsp black peppercorns
  • 1⁄2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 60ml white wine vinegar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150g pitted black olives, finely chopped

For the shallot salad

  • 1 banana shallot, finely sliced
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 10 pitted black olives, sliced
  • 10 pitted green olives, sliced
  • 1tbsp picked oregano leaves
  • 2tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil


First, make a simple fish stock with the bones of the red mullet or other fish. Chop the bones and livers, then heat a drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the fish bones, liver and trimmings and fry for 5–6 minutes until everything is cooked and golden. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, cover with 600ml water and simmer for 20 minutes. Skim any impurities that rise to the surface of the liquid, then pass the liquid through a fine sieve into another pan and keep warm.

Heat another large pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the shallots, garlic and red pepper and sweat off for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in
the chilli powder, peanut butter and flour and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Measure out 450ml fish stock and add it to the vegetable mixture in roughly 4 pours, cooking for 1 minute every time you add some. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Slice and dice the fish fillets into roughly 1cm cubes and add to the sauce. Take off the heat, transfer to a tray and spread out to cool. Once cool, place in the fridge to firm up for up to 1 hour.

To make the tomato relish, place all the ingredients except the sugar and olives with a pinch of sea salt in a heavy- based pan, bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar and cook for a further 30 minutes until the mixture thickens. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and mix in the chopped black olives, then leave to cool.

When the red mullet mix is set, divide it into portions, each weighing around 40g, and, using 2 spoons, shape each portion into a rough rugby ball shape, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile, make the shallot salad by mixing all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then set aside to mingle.

When ready to cook, put the beaten eggs in a bowl, the extra 50g flour in another and the breadcrumbs on
a tray. Pass the fish portions through the flour, then the eggs and finally the breadcrumbs to coat.

Fill a deep-fat fryer or other suitable pan to two-thirds with sunflower oil and heat to 180C. Fry the fritters, in batches if necessary, for 2–3 minutes, then transfer to kitchen paper to drain and season with salt. Serve straightaway, with the salad and relish on the side.


This recipe can be made in advance and frozen before coating with breadcrumbs. The relish can also be prepared beforehand and kept in the fridge in a sterilised container for up to 2 weeks. Warm it a little to take the chill off before serving.

Recipe by Nathan Outlaw
Links220712 049 Chilli Red Mullet Fritters
Recipe by Nathan Outlaw


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