Mullet with Bacon and Peas

An unusual combination of fish with the savoury flavour of bacon, Mullet with Bacon and Peas makes an attractive and colourful dish. Serve with creamed potatoes and grilled tomatoes.

6 streaky bacon slices, finely chopped

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

3 oz. seasoned flour, made with

3 oz. flour,

2 teaspoon salt and

½ teaspoon black pepper

6 medium-sized red mullets, cleaned

4 oz. butter

1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

1 lb. fresh peas, weighed after shelling

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or

½ teaspoon dried thyme

10 fl. oz. chicken stock

4 fl. oz. dry white wine

1 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in

2 tablespoons water

In a medium-sized frying-pan, fry the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it is crisp and has rendered most of its fat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate and keep warm.

Reduce the heat to moderate and add the onion to the frying-pan. Fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is soft and translucent but net brown. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to the plate with the bacon.

Place the seasoned flour in a large shallow dish. Dip the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Set aside.

Add half of the butter to the fat in the frying-pan and return it to moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the fish, three at a time, and fry them for 5 minutes on each side, or until the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Transfer the fish to a warmed serving dish and keep warm while you fry the remaining fish in the same way, using the remaining butter. Keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, bacon and brown sugar to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the peas, salt, pepper, thyme, chicken stock and wine. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the peas are tender. Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the dissolved cornflour and return the pan to the heat. Cook the sauce, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until it thickens.

Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the sauce over the fish. Serve immediately.