Crispy fried grey mullet, chilli jam

Crispy fried grey mullet, chilli jam

By
From
Everyday Seafood
Serves
4 as a starter, or up to 8 as a bite

I serve these crisp-fried fish bites on cocktail sticks on a platter with a dish of chilli jam. They are great as a pre-dinner bite, or handed around at a party. Grey mullet is ideal for this sort of cooking because it has a decent oily content that stops it drying out. Mackerel, sardine and salmon are good alternatives. You’ll probably have more chilli jam than you need, but it will keep for a few weeks in the fridge in a sealed container, and is delicious with cheese and cold meats.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
400g grey mullet fillet, skinned and pin-boned
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 lime, zest finely grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
100g gluten-free self-raising flour
120ml cornish pilsner, or similar beer
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the chilli jam

Quantity Ingredient
1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
4 red peppers, cored, deseeded and finely sliced
6 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
400 g tin plum tomatoes
300g soft brown sugar
150ml red wine vinegar
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
1 lime, cut into wedges

Method

  1. To make the chilli jam, put all of the ingredients into a heavy-based pan (I use a cast-iron one) and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then lower the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes until the jam is well reduced. Once it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, stir constantly over the heat until it looks like bubbling lava. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. (Once cooled, the jam can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container.)
  2. Cut the mullet into roughly 4 cm chunks. Mix the chopped coriander, lime zest, cumin, cayenne and a good pinch of salt together in a bowl. Add the mullet pieces and toss to mix. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. To make the batter, mix the flour and beer together until smooth. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy-based pan to 180°C. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  4. You will need to cook the fish in 2 or 3 batches. One at a time, dip each chunk into the batter to coat, then carefully lower into the hot oil. Deep-fry for 3–4 minutes until cooked and crispy. Gently lift the fish out and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm while you cook the rest.
  5. Sprinkle the fish chunks with a little salt and spear onto cocktail sticks. Serve immediately, on a platter or individual plates with a bowl of chilli jam and lime wedges on the side.
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