Yesterday’s dinner featured two unusual ingredients: grey mullet and wild asparagus. I served them as simple as possible, dressed only with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. It was delicious and ready in less than half an hour.
Grey mullet (not to be confused with red mullet) is also known as goatfish or simply mullet (harder in Dutch, mulet in French, cefalo in Italian). It is a coastal fish with a flattened head. It tastes (when hot smoked) like a leaner more delicate cousin of mackerel.
Wild asparagus are not in fact related to asparagus, but they do taste like them. They were brought to my attention by Stéphane of My French Heaven. They actually look like wheat, and are called korenaar asperge (wheat asparagus) in Dutch. Other names for them are Bath asparagus or Prussian asparagus. They have a very nice taste, a bit stronger and ‘greener’ than normal asparagus.
I had heard that grey mullet is often hot smoked in the Netherlands, but I had never tried it and was curious to do so. It turned out to be very tasty indeed.
I rinsed and dried the grey mullet (which had already been gutted by the fishmonger). I cut off the tail and fins and seasoned it with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cutting of the tail was needed to make it fit in the smoker; the fins would only curl up and burn.
I then put the fish in the smoker…
…and hot smoked it for 20 minutes.
I served the grey mullet and wild asparagus drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. A very simple and tasty secondo piatto (after we had this pasta as primo piatto).
Smoked fish and oaked white wine go together well. We enjoyed this with a white Burgundy, a St. Aubin Premier Cru to be more precise, and the vegetal notes of the white Bourgogne went very well with the wild asparagus as well.
Pasta with broccoli is a primo piatto I prepare on a regular basis. It is quick, tasty, and healthy.