Stuffed Red Mullet (Barbounia Gemista)

Dora Parisi and her sister Maria Koutsoumbi, from Molyvos, Lesbos, always serve this delicious dish to their guests. The extremely fresh fish they use comes right from the fishing boat of Giorgos Koutsoumbi, Maria’s husband.

54

TO SERVE 4

4 large red mullet, about ½ pound each, scaled and gutted. Keep the livers for the stuffing
1 small ripe but firm tomato, peeled and diced
2/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus 4-5 sprigs to decorate
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 lemon, sliced

Wash and dry the mullet with paper towels. Make a slash on the belly side all the way to the backbone. In a bowl mix the tomato with ½ cup parsley, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and plenty of pepper.
Stuff the head and inside of each fish with this mixture and tie each mullet carefully with cotton thread. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 1 hour.
Prepare a charcoal fire or heat the grill. Brush the fish with olive oil on both sides, and broil on each side for about 10 minutes or until done.
In a bowl, whisk the rest of the olive oil with the remaining chopped parsley, the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water, salt and pepper. Dip each fish in this sauce, as soon as it comes off the fire, and arrange on a platter. Decorate with parsley sprigs and lemon slices, and serve warm or at room temperature, serving the rest of the sauce on the side.

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