Chef's Recipes

Red mullet escabeche with olive tapenade

Australian Gourmet Traveller and Fino restaurant recipe for red mullet escabeche with olive tapenade

By David Swain
  • 10 mins preparation
  • 1 min cooking plus marinating
  • Serves 4
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Red mullet escabeche with olive tapenade
"Travelling through the McLaren Vale last month, we stumbled across the delightful Fino. The red mullet escabeche blew us away. Would chef David Swain share his recipe?"
Anna Collins, Adelaide, SA
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To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.
You’ll need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.


  • 170 ml olive oil
  • 8 small red mullet (barbounia) fillets, pin-boned
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced widthways
  • 1 golden shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 60 ml red wine vinegar (¼ cup)
Olive tapenade
  • 50 gm pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tsp salted capers, rinsed
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1
    Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over high heat, cook fish skin-side down for 30 seconds or until lightly golden, then transfer to a baking dish skin-side up.
  • 2
    Heat remaining olive oil in a saucepan to 90C on a thermometer, then carefully
    add all ingredients except red wine vinegar. Remove from heat, add red wine vinegar and stir to combine. Pour over mullet, cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for
    3-6 hours or overnight.
  • 3
    For olive tapenade, combine all ingredients except olive oil in a mortar and, using a pestle, pound to a smooth paste. Add olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Makes about ½ cup.
  • 4
    To serve, arrange fish fillets on plates and scatter with vegetables and herbs from marinade. Stir marinade to combine oil and vinegar, then spoon over fish and top with a teaspoon of tapenade.
  • Author: David Swain