Tuesday 23 November 2010

Recipe: Risotto with Red Mullet

When deconstructed, this is simply a risotto made with fish broth - but the broth that goes into the dish is so good that the end result is quite spectacular! Light, unctuous, and absolutely delicious. This particular recipe is normally associated with Livorno where the red mullet ( or 'triglia' as they're called round here) is dirt cheap, and mullet recipes are generally given the handle 'alla livornese'. I have seen it said that the mullet in this recipe could be substituted by any firm-fleshed white fish - I'm not so sure about that; triglie have a flavour which is particularly full, and give to the stock a richness which I suspect might be missing if cod, say, or bream were to be used instead.

Quick and straightforward, the entire dish takes about forty minutes in total (much of which is elapsed time, when other work can also be done): twenty minutes of which is to make the stock, and another twenty or so to produce the risotto.

For four.

Ingredients: 4 tbs Olive Oil; 1 Carrot, diced; 1 stick of Celery, diced; two or three Red Mullet Fillets, cut into 2 cm pieces; 1 Bay Leaf; 200g chopped tinned Tomato; 5 cups Water; 2 cloves Garlic, finely minced; 1 1/3 cups Carnaroli Rice; 1 wineglass of White Wine; Seasoning; Chopped Parsley (for garnish).


1. Heat 2 tbs of Oil in a saucepan, and gently sauté the Carrot and Celery, along with the fish pieces, for ten minutes. Stir occasionally, and keep the heat at medium.

2. Add the Bay leaf, Tomato, and Water. Bring to the boil, and then reduce to simmer, for a further ten minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then sieve into a clean pan, pressing the pieces against the sieve to extract as much of the flavour as possible. Put the sieved broth onto medium heat, to simmer.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining Oil, and gently colour the minced Garlic. Add Rice and stir to coat in the Oil and Garlic for a minute. Add the wine, maintain the heat such that the liquid barely simmers, and keep stirring until all the Wine has been absorbed by the Rice. Start adding broth, one ladle at a time - only add a new ladleful of broth once the previous one has been absorbed.

4. Keep adding broth either until it has all been used up or until the Rice is properly cooked. Depending on the quality of the Rice, this should take twenty minutes or so. If the broth is finished before the risotto is ready, add water instead, until the Rice is cooked.

5. Add seasoning, to taste (none has gone into the broth, so it will definitely be needed at this stage) ans serve, garnished with chopped fresh Parsley.


Anonymous said...

That sounds deeply delicious, Red Mullet is a lovely fish.

Anonymous said...

Can you give an approximate weight for the mullet - they come as small as whitebait and as big as boots?

Pomiane said...

I've never actually weighed them, but would guess around 200g in total for the recipe as given.