Smoking not only imparts flavour to the mullet, but also creates a beautiful texture. While the fish can be smoked ahead of time and served chilled, it's even better served soon after it has been smoked - allow it to cool for about 30 minutes before scattering with the delicate salad so it doesn't wilt, or serve the salad to the side.
- 2 sides of mullet (about 600gm each), skin on
- 3 cups woodchips, such as apple or peach, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, drained (see note)
- 150 gm frozen peas
- 100 gm sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 12 zucchini flowers, petals torn, stalks thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds on a mandolin
- 1 cup (loosely packed) pea tendrils
- ¾ cup (loosely packed) mint
- 50 ml olive oil
- 20 ml lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch of caster sugar
- To serve: thick mayonnaise, spiked with lemon juice and garlic
- 200 gm sea salt flakes
- 100 gm brown sugar
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1For brine, stir ingredients and 1.5 litres cold water in a container large enough to hold fish in a single layer until sugar and salt dissolve, add mullet, cover and refrigerate to brine (2-3 hours).
- 2Meanwhile, set up a coal-bedded barbecue for indirect grilling (see note). Burn coals until they turn white, then add woodchips around coals to smoke. Drain mullet from brine and pat dry with paper towels, place on a lightly oiled rack over smoking woodchips and coals, then cover with a lid and smoke for 20 minutes. Fish can be served warm or refrigerated for up to 3 days and served chilled.
- 3Blanch peas and sugar snap peas until tender and bright green (1-2 minutes), drain and refresh, then drain again and combine in a bowl with zucchini flowers and stalks, zucchini, pea tendrils and mint. Whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard and sugar in a bowl, drizzle dressing over salad, toss to combine and serve scattered over smoked mullet, with lemon-garlic mayonnaise.
Note Smoking woodchips are available from select barbecue-supply shops and specialist online suppliers. Indirect grilling is cooking away from the heat using the top rack. It's important to have your coal base well established and glowing before adding woodchips.
Drink Suggestion: Textural Italian-style white, such as fiano. Drink suggestion by Max Allen