Red mullet en papillote with thyme



4 x 225 – 275 g (8 – 10 oz) red mullet, cleaned and trimmed (see page 14)
1 small bunch thyme
120 ml (4 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
50 ml (2 fl oz) dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon (about 8 teaspoons)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato, black olive and chilli salad:
450 g (1 lb) small vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ medium-hot red Dutch chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
50 g (2 oz) good quality black olives, pitted
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas Mark 7. Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper and put 2 sprigs of thyme in the cavity of each one.
Brush four 30 cm (12 inch) square of foil with a little of the olive oil and put a fish diagonally across the centre of each piece. Bring the sides of the foil up and around the fish and crimp it together tightly at each end leaving the top open.
Mix the wine with 50 ml (2 fl oz) of water. Pour 2 tablespoons of the wine and water mixture, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into each parcel, add the remaining sprigs of thyme and season with a little more salt and pepper. Seal the parcels well and place on a large baking sheet. Bake the fish for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the salad, scatter the tomato wedges, red chilli, garlic and olives on 4 small plates and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
To serve, put the unopened parcels of fish on 4 warmed plates and take them to the table with a bowl of chips cooked in olive oil and the plates of tomato salad. Allow each person to open up their own parcel.

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