This is my favourite way to eat red mullet. To me, roasting any fish on the bone makes all the difference to the flavour. Traditionally, whole red mullet are cooked with their innards intact, but I prefer to gut the fish and cook the livers separately - seasoned nicely and wrapped in wild garlic to protect them. When wild garlic is out of season, simply fry the livers with a few whole garlic cloves to lend flavour.
4 red mullet, about 400g each, scaled, gutted (livers reserved)
8 wild garlic (ramson) leaves
4 rosemary stems
Olive oil for cooking
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
Cornish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and put a roasting tray inside to heat up. Wash the red mullet livers, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Wrap them in the wild garlic leaves.
Score the fish diagonally, making three or four slashes on each side and insert little sprigs of rosemary into the slashes. Season the fish allover with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of oil to the roasting tray. Add the remaining rosemary to the tray and place the fish on top, side by side. Dot with the butter and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan, then add a drizzle of oil. When it is hot, add the wrapped fish livers and cook for one minute. Flip the liver parcels over, add the shallot and cider to the pan and cook for one minute. Remove the wrapped livers and set aside with the fish.
Add a few spoonfuls of the fish cooking juices to the cider and shallots in the pan and heat, stirring to combine and make a dressing.
Place the red mullet and wrapped livers on warmed plates. Pour over the dressing and serve at once, with buttery mashed potatoes.