Red mullet, or Barbunia, is one of the most popular ocean fish in Israel. Rashed, or garden cress, is a very special local green with a delicate spicy flavor, and is found in the open markets of Israel. Israelis whose families emigrated from North Africa use rashed lavishly. It is rinsed and dried and then used as a garnish. Arugula (or rocket) leaves can be substituted for the rashed in this recipe.
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 shallot, chopped
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 3-4 fresh za’atar leaves or fresh thyme
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
For the bean salad:
- ½ cup (100 g) white beans, cooked
- Olive oil for frying
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- Pinch of thyme
For the mullet:
- 1 Ib (500 g) red mullet, cleaned and deboned
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh rashed or arugula leaves, chopped
- To prepare the vinaigrette, quarter the tomatoes and gently squeeze the seeds and juice into a small bowl.
- Add the garlic, shallot, lemon juice, and herbs.
- Whisk these together and slowly add ‘!4 cu p (60 ml) olive oil.
- Chop one of the crushed tomatoes and add to the sauce, along with salt and pepper and set aside.
- To prepare the bean salad, fry the cooked white beans in a little olive oil together with the chopped garlic and the thyme.
- To prepare the mullet, sprinkle some flour onto a plate.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.
- Dip each mullet in flour on both sides and shake off the excess.
- Fry the fish quickly on both sides and drain on a paper towel.
- To serve, place a few mullet on individual plates, depending on their size, with a spoonful of white beans next to them.
- Sprinkle the vinaigrette over the fish and arrange the fresh greens beside them.
- Serve immediately.