Grey mullet is plentiful in the waters around Devon and is inexpensive and often underrated.
It has a distinctive, strong flavour that is quite earthy and can often be substituted for sea bass in recipes. Mullets can be cooked whole, stuffed with lots of delicious herbs and lemon slices and baked in the oven, or cut into fillets and grilled or pan-fried.
Whole mullet: cleaned and gutted whole mullets are stuffed with thyme, parsley, celery leaves and lemon slices, loosely wrapped in aluminium foil, scattered with small dobs of butter, salt and pepper and baked in a pre-heated oven (190C) for about 30/35 minutes.
Mullet fillets for 4: Par-boil 450g of potatoes, cool and cut into cubes. Heat a dry pan and toast a tsp of cumin seeds for 2/3 minutes then remove pan from heat. Mix 300ml of plain yoghurt plus 300ml of water, a pinch each of ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric and salt together along with 1 tsp of dark sugar.
Add to the pan of toasted cumin seeds, return to the heat and bring to the boil, reduce and simmer for 4/6 minutes. Add the potato cubes and cook gently for a further 3 minutes. Keep warm.
Now heat oil in a frying-pan, add the four mullet fillets and when hot, cook for 2 minutes on each side. Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan stir until foaming and spoon the pan juices over the fillets until cooked. Serve on top of a pile of the potatoes.
Grey mullet roe smoked is a delicacy traditionally used in taramasalata.
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