From September to the end of the year, French market fishmongers offer a brightly coloured red/orange fish called “Rouget’ (the red one), which is in fact a name for various types of fish.
The larger ones are the red mullet that are fished in the ocean in big nets. There are also smaller sized fishes, “rouget barbet” (the red bearded one), the size of a goldfish, which are rockfish such as the surmullet.
The rouget barbet has a tendency to colour red during cooking.
Dragnets being used by trawlers fishing for scallops sometimes catch the small fish. The scallop season starting on October 1 in France, this may partly explain the abundant presence on the markets.
Unlike the scallops, the rougets are relatively cheap. They are also rather fragile.
You can buy them whole or filleted. Both need to be cleansed under running water to remove the last scales and wash any impurities. Dry on a paper cloth.
You can cook them in butter or olive oil.
I wanted a very light dish so I moistened the skillet with some oil on a paper cloth, then put the fish filets in the skillet, skin side down, and put in on the heat.
I had juiced one lime and when after several minutes the top of the fish fillets was turning white, I added the juice and raised the heat to reduce the liquid.
I turned the fish over briefly at the end (to finish cooking the top but also to detach the fillet from any remaining scaled stuck to the pan) and put them on a serving plate with pepper.
On the picture, they are presented with fresh young spinach leaves and some drops of soy sauce and slices of lime skin