Grey mullet in saffron rice
Fish cooked this way, with saffron and olives, has a truly Mediterranean flavor.
When I was lingering in front of the fishmonger’s shop in the market this week, some handsome grey mullets caught my eye. The next stand over had juicy-looking tomatoes, and the one after that, fresh green herbs temptingly displayed in tight bunches. It came together with saffron in my mind. So here’s what I cooked.
You can use any firm-fleshed fish for this. Salmon would be delicious, too. Have ready two cups of vegetable or fish stock.
- 1 fresh grey mullet, cleaned and cut into slices 1 1/2 inches wide (8 slices)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white rice, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 2 cups hot vegetable or fish stock
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives, or black olives if preferred
- Green parts of 6 scallions
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Optional for those who like the sting of chili peppers: A little Thai pepper or African Birdseye
Heat oven to 350° F (180° C).
Pour olive oil into an oven-proof casserole dish. Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.
Pour the lemon juice over the mullet slices and allow it to marinate while the vegetables are softening in the oven.
In the meantime, put the saffron, salt and pepper in a Pyrex measuring cup or other heat-proof container. Pour the hot stock over it. Stir and cover.
At the end of 20 minutes, place the rice in the casserole, mixing at first and then spreading it out evenly. Scatter chopped scallions over all. Place the fish on top.
Stir the saffronny stock well and pour over the rice and fish. Scatter olives around and in between the fish slices. If adding hot pepper, tuck into the middle of the casserole.
Cover the casserole tightly (use tin foil if necessary). Bake for one hour.