Pan fried fillets of red mullet with a black olive and tomato potato cake, wilted spinach and a sauce vierge
Preheat the grill.
Lightly crush the garlic with the back of a knife. Zest the lemon only removing the zest and not the pith, reserving the juice for the sauce and fish. Tear the bay leaf in half. Add these ingredients to the olive oil along with the thyme.
Pinbone the red mullet if necessary and add to the tray of flavoured oil. Leave to marinade for 30 minutes.
Dice the olives and sun-dried tomatoes and very finely chop the chives.
Bring the potatoes up to the boil in salted water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender. When cooked drain and allow the steam to evaporate for a few minutes. Crush the potatoes with a fork.
Add the olives, the sun-dried tomatoes and half of the chives to the potatoes with 50ml of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Save the rest of the chives for the sauce.
Use a ring to shape the potatoes into 6 even sized rounds.
Heat a pan over a medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and pan fry the potato cakes on one side until golden brown. Turn and place into the oven for around 3 minutes until golden brown.
Warm a sauce pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Add the spinach leaves and stir with a garlic clove on a fork until the spinach has wilted. This will take no longer than 1 minute.
Using a tomato peeler remove the skin from the tomatoes. Cut into quarters and remove the seeds from the middle. Once you are left with tomato `petals` cut them into small squares.
Finely dice the shallot. Carefully tear the basil into small pieces being careful not to bruise them.
Warm the olive oil over a medium heat and add the shallot. Allow to sweat(soften without colour)for 5 minutes still over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the tomato, juice from half a lemon and the basil, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Place a neat pile of spinach to one side of the plate with the red mullet on top. Sit the potato cake next to the fish with the sauce vierge drizzled around.
«Pan fry your red mullet for a crispy skin but if this is your chosen option make sure you score your fish well to avoid it curling up in the pan.»