Red mullet is a very tasty fish, but it dries out easily as it is very lean. By cooking it sous-vide at a low temperature, the fish will be very tender and juicy. Flaked and mixed with extra virgin olive oil, it is even better. Because red mullet has so much flavor, it can be paired with pistachios. For this pasta dish I used fresh pasta and a sauce of extra virgin olive oil, fish stock, white wine, ground pistachios, grated lemon zest, and parsley. The dish is finished with the flaked mullet and chopped pistachios. If you don’t want to make fresh pasta, you can get store-bought fresh pasta or even use dry pasta. This dish was wonderful and I will be making it again. Here’s what I did…
For 4 servings as a primo piatto
250 grams (.55 lb) red mullet fillets without skin, or other white fish that flakes easily
40 grams (4 Tbsp) shelled pistachios, toasted
450 grams (1 lb) fresh egg tagliolini, made using 3 eggs and about 300 grams (2 cups) Italian 00 flour
250 ml (1 cup) fish stock
125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
Make fresh tagliolini, if using. Here are my instructions for making fresh pasta dough.
Homemade fish stock is important for the elegant flavor of this dish. You can use the heads and bones from the red mullet to make it.
Toast the pistachios in the oven for 10 minutes at 180C/350F; this really brings out their flavor. Pulse in a food processor…
…until coarsely ground.
Now use a coarse sieve…
…to separate into ground pistachios and chopped pistachios. You should end up with about 2 tablespoons of each.
Season the red mullet fillets with salt and rub them with extra virgin olive oil, then vacuum seal.
Cook the red mullet sous-vide for about half an hour at 46C/115F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Peel the garlic clove and slice it thickly. Tilt the pan and cook the garlic in the oil over medium heat until golden, then discard the garlic. Using this technique, you infuse the oil with garlic flavor.
Now add 120 ml of white wine…
…and 250 ml of fish stock. Allow to reduce by about half over medium heat.
Add the grated zest of a lemon.
In the meantime, when the water boils, take the bag with the fish out of the sous-vide and very briefly dip it in the boiling water. This is to sanitize the outside of the fish, as we are cooking it at a temperature that is too low to do that. After that, return the fish to the sous-vide. Add salt and the fresh pasta to the boiling water. If using fresh pasta, cook it for 30 seconds only and then drain. For dry pasta, cook it a couple of minutes less than al dente.
When the fish stock and white wine have been reduced by half…
…add the drained pasta and stir to mix over high heat. Turn off the heat as soon as it starts to look dry.
Add the ground pistachios and most of the parsley.
Stir to mix.
Take the bag with the fish out of the sous-vide. Cut open the bag, and flake the fish with a fork or a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the pasta on preheated plates. Top with the fish, chopped pistachios, and the remaining parsley. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil, and serve at once.
Many Italian dry whites have a bit of a nutty flavor, which sometimes comes with a bit of age. We enjoyed this with such a white from Friuli, a Rosazzo Bianco.
These homemade asparagus and goat cheese ravioli are worth all the work. Goat cheese and asparagus both go well with Sauvignon blanc, so it is no surprise they go together as well.