Martina Caruso’s recipe – Red mullet with its offal, Cacciucco sauce, Salicornia, oil and lemon


For the Chef Martina Caruso, cuisine has always been an assault on the senses, a joy of emotions, an act of freedom, the better place to express oneself, where it is possible to blend together cultures and excellence of other territories.

“I think cuisine brings people, flavours and cultures together. We must dare, experiment by looking beyond and be brave: persist and resist”

In her cuisine there is the right mix of fusion, essential to give rise to new ideas and interpretations. Chef Martina presents us a dish that best represents her current work.

Red mullet with its offal, Cacciucco sauce, Salicornia, oil and lemon



4 red mullets
fried scales
fried sage
400 gr sea asparagus or Salicornia
extra virgin olive oil
200 g mullet liver
1 shallot
50 gr butter
white wine vinegar

For the Caciucco sauce

half carrot
1 onion
half a celery stick
500 gr shelfish
500 gr whole mussels
500 gr prawn heads
500 gr mullet bones
100 gr white wine
250 gr tomatoes
40 gr extra virgin olive oil
fennel pollen


Clean the red mullets by washing the scales under running water and let them dry well. Keep the liver and bone aside. Fillet the red mullet, leaving the tail.

Preparation of Caciucco sauce

Wash all the fishes and cut them all. In a saucepan, heat oil, onion and herbs, then add tomatoes; finally, add the fish. Simmer with white wine until reduced; add water and ice. Filter and let reduce.
In a pan, make the paté, blending mullet liver, shallot, butter, white wine vinegar and honey. Fill the mullet with the paté. Then fry the scales and sage.
Clean and blanch the sea asparagus and immediately after pass them on the hotplate; season with oil and lemon.
Cook the red mullets in the steam oven and, at the end of cooking, place them on the plate. Season everything with salt flakes and extra virgin olive oil and complete the composition with the reduced Caciucco sauce and sea asparagus. In the end, place the scales and the fried sage powder on top of the red mullet.

The composition and the idea

The dish, broken down and recomposed in order to better appreciate all its characteristics and particularities

THE PROTEIN – The red mullet is a fish that I always work with passion and that I love very much, due to its strong flavour and the consistency of the meat, but also to the many shades of its red colour. A 360-degree processing: heads and bones are used to make a broth; the offal to make a paté; the bones, fried, give the crunchy part to the dish. Also, the fish is cooked very little and steamed to enhance all its elegance.

THE JUICE – The Caciucco sauce, used to reinforce the dish, comes from a traditional Tuscan recipe: a thick sauce of shellfish and seafood.

THE SALICORNIA OR SEA ASPARAGUS – It is a wild plant that grows along the coasts in saline soil. We usually tend to leave it very natural, giving it a blanch in the steam oven and then passing it on the Japanese barbecue (iakytory).

THE LEMON – The dish is seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Lemon is an important ingredient because it breaks the balance of sweet and savoury and allows you to control the acidity.

THE SAGE – Finally, fried sage leaves give the dish a balsamic touch.

Martina Caruso

Wine pairing

Palari. Faro Palari DOC 2013

Faro, from the Palari wine producer, is considered one of the most elegant and aristocratic wines of Sicily in perfect symbiosis with its “author”. The wine was born in the early 90s in Santo Stefano Briga, between Messina and Taormina, thanks to the will of the architect Salvatore Geraci, a man of high culture, and his friend Luigi Veronelli.

The company is located in a beautiful eighteenth-century villa. The vineyards overlooking the channel expand for 7 hectares with a total production of 30,000 bottles, of which approximately half are Faro Palari, depending on the nature of the various vintages. The vine varieties used are: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera and other indigenous grapes such as Acitana and Galatea. The nature of the soil, the favourable overall conditions of soil and climate, a quality pruning with very low yields, make Faro a refined wine, with an extreme longevity even over time. It matures for 18 months in new Tronçais and Alli barriques, and for another 18 months completes its refinement in the bottle creating a wine that seduces for its elegance and taste persistence.

NOSE: Rich and complex bouquet with hints of black pepper, nutmeg, dried tomato, tobacco, graphite, rosemary, oregano with a recall to star anise.

MOUTH: Soft and very balanced, supported by a beautiful structure and acid shoulder. Deep with persistent floral and spicy notes, flavours of plums and cherries. The tannin is sweet, quite broad, and velvety. Long taste persistence.

Luca Caruso