The following soup is a robust dish with plenty of attitude, a beautiful colour and with a faint back of throat burn from the chile. It is so easy to prepare but no need to let on unless asked.
Don't be mean with the saffron it requires a good pinch for that wonderful hint of iodine taste. Saffron being important in this dish, make sure you have the real McKoy (little perspex boxes tied with glinting string) as minced flower petal trimmings peddled by tricksters in holiday markets are time wasting nonsense and will add no joy to your stew.
Heat a really good slug of olive oil - and I mean a really good slug - in a wide shallow lidded saucepan. If you do not have one of these, a casserole is fine.
Split the head of garlic from side to side across the middle trying to prevent each half from falling apart. Place the garlic halves, exposed side down, in the oil and let them slowly sizzle, on not too fierce a heat, to a dark golden colour. Don't worry about the garlic skins here; they can simply be pushed to the side when eating the stew â€“ and I like this casual style of cooking. Chuck in the coriander seeds, bay leaves, oregano and the onions, which you have cut into the thinnest slivers you can. Sweat the onions until they are soft but not coloured. When they are ready add the wine, saffron, chopped peeled and de-seeded tomatoes, the tomato paste and orange juice and cook for a further ten minutes on a slow simmer. While the contents cook peel and halve the potatoes lengthways cutting each half, into six pieces. Rinse them. Add the potatoes to the stew making sure they are all submerged in the sauce. Add a little extra water if needs be, about 150ml, with a good teaspoon of salt.
Cook, with the lid, on a gentle simmer until nearly done. About 10 to 12 minutes.
While the potatoes cook, if the fishmonger hasn't done so, fillet the mullet and cut each fillet into large mouthfuls. When the potatoes are done, add the fish pieces, making sure they are sitting in the soup, not on top of it. Return the lid, and cook for a little more than 6 minutes. Don't forget, you can always take out a piece of fish and taste it. (You should be doing this with every recipe.)
Serve this rich stew in bowls sprinkled with chopped parsley and with a dash of olive oil on top. Good with light red wine as well as white.