How can you concoct Red Mullet Soup without bones or heads?
The recipe below doesn't contain any bones. Did the author forget them?
Red mullet has particular qualities that make the flavour very rich. The secret of this soup is making a good stock. Additionally, you want just a flicker of movement on it as it develops on the stove top; if you let it do its own thing it eventually comes together to produce delightful results. I also use this as a base to cook fish, fennel and potatoes and serve them in a clay pot as a more robust fish stew. It takes some time to cook, but just minutes to prepare.
red mullet soup
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 celery sticks (stalks), finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
150 ml/5 fl oz/⅔ cup dry white wine
2 × 400 g/14 oz cans tomatoes
10 salted anchovy fillets
4 litres/7 pints/4 quarts shellfish stock (see here)
1 tbsp fennel seeds
good pinch of saffron strands
3 bay leaves
sprig of fresh thyme
6 red mullet, scaled, filleted and pinboned
saffron mayonnaise (see here), finely chopped curly parsley and fried bread to serve
Gently fry the fennel, celery and garlic in the olive oil over a medium heat until lightly golden and soft – 4–5 minutes. Add the wine, boil off the alcohol, then add the tomatoes, anchovies, stock, fennel seeds and saffron. Using a hand blender, blend the liquid until smooth, then pour into a large pan. Add the bay and thyme and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very lightly – you just want a flicker of movement – uncovered, for 1½ hours.
Add the mullet fillets, then simmer very gently, uncovered, for 2 hours until the flavour has developed and the mullet is broken up. Taste it often – you will know when it is ready. Serve with saffron mayonnaise, a sprinkle of parsley and some fried bread.