There are two types of mullet fish―striped mullet and silver mullet. They swim in large schools and keep jumping out of the water; hence they are also known as jumping mullet. This trait of theirs makes fishing for them easier. These fishes have a firm texture, and a moderate flavor. It makes for lean meat and thus, can also be eaten by those on a diet, either grilled or steamed. Before we take a look at some of the delicious recipes, here are some tips on how to buy, cook, and preserve mullet fish:
- If you buy a whole fish, ensure that its skin is shiny, and that it does not carry any slime.
- Its belly cavity should be clean, unless you plan to clean it yourself. There shouldn't be any cuts on the fish, except for the one made to remove the guts.
- If you buy steaks, ensure that the flesh is translucent, firm, and not discolored. It should smell mildly of the ocean.
- If you are preparing a marinade for the fish, and require some to be used later for basting, keep aside the necessary portion.
- This fish cooks quickly, so do not allow it to overcook.
Crispy Mullet Fish Salad (Serves 6)
- Florida Mullet fillets, 2 pounds
- White vinegar, ½ cup
- Tarragon leaves, 1 teaspoon
- All-purpose flour, 1 cup
- Yellow cornmeal, ½ cup
- Lime juice, ¼ cup
- Salt, 1 teaspoon
- Pepper, ¼ teaspoon
- Paprika, 2 teaspoons
- Black radish, 6
- Lettuce bundles, 6
- Beefsteak tomatoes, 3
- Garlic cloves, 2 (chopped)
- Baby fennel bulbs, 12
- Pink radishes, 12
- Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chicken stock, 4 cups
- Olive oil, for frying salad vegetables
- Cut the fillets in strips of 4-5 inches.
- In a flat dish, mix together the vinegar, lime juice, and tarragon leaves.
- Put the fish strips in this mixture, and allow them to marinade for about 30 minutes. Cover the dish with a lid.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, paprika, salt, pepper, and flour.
- Dredge the fish strips in this dry mixture after removing them from the marinade.
- Heat the olive oil and deep-fry the fish in it until they are golden brown. Drain the excess oil from the fish using a paper towel.
- Peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds, and cut them into quarters.
- In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, and add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to it.
- Add the chicken stock to the pan and allow it to simmer until it attains the consistency of a sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and allow it to cool until it reaches the room temperature.
- Slice the fennel, and soak it in ice water along with the radishes.
- Line each dish with lettuce, and sprinkle lemon juice on them.
- Cut the black radish, and line only one side of the dish with it.
- Place the fish strips on each plate. Garnish it with fennel, and top it with the previously prepared sauce.
Smoked Mullet Fish (Serves 6)
- Split mullet, 5 pounds
- Water, 1 gallon
- Kosher salt, ¾-1 cup
- Brown sugar, 1 cup
- Onion powder, 1 tablespoon
- Fresh parsley
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Roasting pan
- Wire rack
- Wood chips
- Rinse the fish clean. In a bowl, combine the water, salt, sugar, and onion powder. Soak the fish in this solution for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you wish the fish to be saltier, soak it for a longer time.
- Remove the fish from this solution, and lightly rinse it with plain water. Discard the solution.
- Place the fish on the roasting pan with the wire rack. Cover it with paper towels, and allow it to rest for about 2-3 hours, or until it has completely dried.
- Place the charcoal in the smoker, and heat it up for about 20 minutes. Simultaneously, place the wood chips in water for the same amount of time.
- Remove them from the water, and put them in the smoker along with the charcoal. Take the pan with the wire rack and place it on the smoker.
- Fill the necessary amount of water as indicated by the fill line on the pan.
- Place the fish on the rack, and cover it with a lid.
- Allow it to cook for at least 2 hours or until it starts flaking easily.
- Garnish it with the parsley, followed by the lemon wedges and hot sauce, if desired.
Grilled, Stuffed Whole Red Mullet Fish (Serves 4)
- Whole red mullets, 4 (about ½ pound each)
- Onion, 1 (medium-sized)
- Tomato, ½ (de-seeded; finely chopped)
- Parsley (finely chopped)
- Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
- Liver of the mullet (finely chopped)
- Lemons, 2 (juiced)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Gut the fish by making a cut through the belly, right up to the bone. Remember to place the liver aside.
- Mix together the finely chopped liver, onion, tomato, and parsley in a large bowl, and add the salt, pepper, and olive oil to the mixture.
- Slit the fish all along, and stuff the entire fish with the above-mentioned mixture. Use a strong thread to sew the cavity, so that the stuffing doesn't leak out.
- Season the fish with salt, and allow it to rest for about 45 minutes.
- On a heated grill, place the stuffed fish, brushed with olive oil. Let it cook until it starts flaking easily.
- For the dressing, blend together the lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and a little water.
- Once the mullet is ready, dip it in the dressing, and place it on a dish. Pour the remaining dressing over the fish.
This fish can be substituted with mahi-mahi, mackerel, and pompano. Treat yourself with the delicious flavors of mullet fish, and savor these recipes with your friends and family.