Red mullet, saffron water and pickled cucumber | Recipe of the week

As we move into a warmer time of year warmer waters bring different species of fish.

By Lawrence Murphy
Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:04 pm
Red mullet, tomato saffron water, pickled cucumber by Lawrence Murphy
Red mullet, tomato saffron water, pickled cucumber by Lawrence Murphy

This includes the firm restaurant favourite red mullet with its beautiful colour, great texture and flavour.

This bright red orange fish snuffles on the sea floor looking for prawns and crabs to eat giving it an oily sweet crustacean flavour.

In this recipe I infuse tomato water with saffron to enhance the red mullet’s flavour along with charred pickled cucumber.

Ingredients, serves 4 as a starter

800g red mullet filleted and cut into 4; tomato water; 500g vine ripe tomatoes; pinch sea salt; pinch saffron; pickled cucumber; 1/2 cucumber cut into 4cm long sticks; 100ml white wine vinegar; 100ml water; 40g caster sugar; pinch sea salt; teaspoon coriander seed


1. Start the day before you want to eat this dish. Roughly chop the tomatoes and then liquidise for 20 seconds. Pour the liquid through muslin cloth into a bowl that contains the saffron. This is best carried out overnight. You will be left with a clear orange liquid once you stir up the saffron.

2.. For the pickle, heat all the ingredients together (not the cucumber) and allow to cool. Pour over the cucumber and leave overnight.

3. When you are ready to serve, take the cucumber from the liquid and pat dry. Blow torch on 2 sides and put into 4 warmed bowls.

4. Pan-fry the mullet in a little olive oil and butter skin-side down for 4 minutes. Turn and finish cooking for another 4 minutes.

5. Pour the tomato and saffron water around the cucumber and place the red mullet on top.