This month the Executive Chef Rocco de Santis delights us with one of his most popular dishes at the Santa Elisabetta Gourmet Restaurant in Florence, open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Find out the magical location of the Torre della Pagliazza in Piazza Santa Elisabetta and book your table directly online or at 055.27370. Pay after dinner.
Ingredients for 4 people:
8 red mullets, lemon, fennel, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper
For the Tropea Red Onion compote
1 kilogram of onions, 100 grams of sugar, 100 grams of glucose, 50 grams of Sherry vinegar
For saffron bread
600 grams of flour, 250 grams of water, 15 grams of saffron pistils, 15 grams of brewer’s yeast, 10 grams of salt, 10 grams of granulated sugar, extra virgin olive oil
For the mint pesto
200 grams of mint leaves, 60 grams of extra virgin olive oil, 40 grams of chopped almonds, 40 grams of seed oil, 20 grams of basil, a clove of bleached garlic
For the raisins and pine nuts pesto
150 grams of raisins, 14 grams of extra virgin olive oil, 50 grams of pine nuts, 50 grams of grape vinegar, 50 grams of stale bread, 30 grams of very fine desalted capers, a desalted anchovy, mint
For the Nubia red garlic sauce
100 grams of peeled and peeled garlic cloves, 50 ml of cream, 50 ml of milk
For the decoration
4 sprigs of mint, 4 garlic flowers, 4 stems of chives
Peel the onions, wash them and cut them into thin slices with the help of a vegetable slicer, boil twenty millilitres of water and the vinegar then blanch the onions for a few minutes. Pour the other ingredients into a bowl, add the drained onions, cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak for six hours. Once the maceration is over, transfer everything to a pan and boil over low heat until it has assumed the typical consistency of the compote.
For the saffron bread pour the flour into the basket of a kneader, add the yeast dissolved in a little hot water and the sugar. Start kneading at a moderate speed, then add the saffron, diluted in a tablespoon of water, and the rest of the ingredients; work until a soft mass is obtained. Transfer the dough to a wooden work table dusted with a little flour and knead it by hand just enough time to make it even more homogeneous, then place it in a plum cake mould greased with extra virgin olive oil. Let rise for about two hours then bake at 180° C for 45 minutes. Once cooked, unmould it, let it cool and then cut it in slices with a slicer just under 3 millimetres thick.
Blanch the mint and basil leaves, cool them in water and ice, squeeze them well and mix them with the rest of the ingredients. Blend everything with an immersion mixer and place in the freezer for about two hours. Stir vigorously by breaking the ice crystals to obtain a creamy pesto.
Let soften the raisins in warm water for about 20 minutes and soak the stale bread in the vinegar; in the meantime toast the pine nuts in a non-stick pan. When the raisins are well hydrated, squeeze and pour into the glass of an immersion mixer with the rest of the ingredients, blend for a few minutes to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Blanch the garlic three times starting from cold water; pour the cream and milk into a saucepan, add the blanched garlic and cook over low heat for about twenty minutes. Blend and set aside.
Fillet the mullets by removing the central bone but taking care to leave the two halves together with the tail. Season with salt, pepper, grated lemon peel and chopped fennel. Brush the skin with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then lay one side on a slice of saffron bread and, with the tip of a knife, cut the bread along the length of the fish until it reaches the end of the tail. Proceed in the same way for the other side. Pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on the bottom of a pan, heat it and brown the mullet on both sides by lightly browning the bread so that it adheres perfectly to the skin and is crispy.
Spread the mint pesto on the bottom of each plate with a spatula, place a spoonful of the raisins and pine nuts on top and lay a mullet on top of it. Finish with a few drops of garlic sauce, a little red onion compote, sprigs of mint, chives and garlic flowers.