Fillet of Vivaneau (Red Mullet) with Endive-tomato Confit and Brown Gravy with Black Olives and Basil
Vivaneau, or red mullet, resembles trout. You can substitute trout or other firm-fleshed fillets if you can’t get mullet. The fish is seared to brown it, then served on endive and tomato with a black olive sauce. A simple basil sauce is drizzled on the plate for garnish.
- Olive Oil - 4 tablespoons
- Whole Endive - 2, cleaned and separated
- Oven-Dried Tomatoes - 6 to 8
- Sea Salt - 1 tablespoon, ground
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Basil Sauce
- Olive Oil - 6 tablespoons
- Basil leaves - 10
- Garlic Cloves - 2 large, peeled and minced
- Sea salt to taste
- Black Olive Sauce
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Shallot - 1, minced
- Veal Stock - 3/4 cup
- Red Wine - 2/4 cup
- Black Olives - 4 large, pitted and julienned
- Red Mullets - 2 whole, (about 12 ounces each)
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Basil - 2 sprigs
- Thyme - 2 sprigs
- Cherry Tomatoes - 2
To prepare the vegetables: In a saute pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cook the endive leaves, covered, about 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir in the tomatoes. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper; re-cover and set aside off the heat.
To make the basil sauce: In a blender or food processor, puree the ingredients together. Place in a squeeze bottle and set aside.
To make the black olive sauce: In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and saute the shallots about 1 minute, or until soft. Add 1/2 cup of the veal stock and the wine, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until reduced by half. The sauce may be mad to this point, chilled, then rewarmed just before serving. To continue the preparation, stir the remaining 1/4 cup of veal stock into the warmed reduction sauce. Simmer over low heat while cooking the fish.
To prepare the fish: With a sharp boning knife, make an incision just below the head, cutting all the way to the bone. Cut off the fins. Cut along the backbone from head to tail and lift off the fillet. Repeat on the other side. Fillet the second fish the same way. Gently tweeze out any remaining bones from the flesh of the fillets. Season on each side with salt and pepper. Score the skin to keep the fish from curling. In a saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat and sear the fish on the skin side until browned. Take the pan off the heat, turn the fish over, and set aside to finish using just the heat of the pan.
To serve: Add the olives to the veal stock sauce. Place a mound of endive in the center of each plate. Place 2 pieces of fish on the endive and pour the olive sauce around it. Drizzle the basil sauce around the fish and endive. Garnish each with a basil and a thyme sprig and a cherry tomato.