Leghorn mullets are a symbol of this Tuscan city inseparably linked to the sea and derive from an ancient Sephardic recipe, the "mullet alla mosaica". The ingredients needed to make the mullets of Livorno are of extraordinary simplicity: fresh mullets and tomato pulp. And now a look at the characteristics of red mullet: small fish, has a reddish color on the back and pink or orange on the sides. To be precise, there are two types of mullet: that of sand and that of rock, with the latter which, although having more tender and precious meats, is particularly rich in thorns. It is only apparently difficult to clean the mullets, but if you really do not want to challenge yourself with thorns and alike, no problem: the mullets can also be bought already cleaned.
Wash the tomatoes and make a cross-shaped incision on the bottom of each, then immerse them for about thirty seconds in boiling water. Drain them in cold water, then peel them in half. Cut the pulp into small cubes or, alternatively, use four hundred grams of chopped peeled tomatoes but the original recipe does not provide it. Cut the pepper lengthwise, remove the seeds and chop. Take the red mullet fillets, remove any remaining spikes with tweezers, rinse and dry them. It is now time to prepare the sauce: heat four to five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the non-stick frying pan with the peeled and coarsely chopped garlic together with celery, sage and chilli pepper. Sauté for two or three minutes and sprinkle with the wine, let it almost completely evaporate, add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about twenty minutes. The tomato sauce should be fluid but with the tomato pieces still visible. Remove sage and celery from the pan and after putting a pinch of salt, add the fillets of red mullet into the sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes over low heat, then sprinkle with chopped parsley.The fillets of mullet alla livornese are ready to be served on the table!
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