In England I was aware of only one species of grey mullet but in Spain have discovered several – and a proliferation of names! The Spanish name for grey mullet is Pardete, but the name most seen in south east Spain appears to be Lisa or Llisa, the Thick lipped-grey mullet. Frequently, I have also seen Morragute (thin-lipped grey mullet), Galupe (Gold Grey Mullet) and a related species, Galúa. I am not able to determine the difference and as they are all excellent to eat, I haven’t bothered to find out. There are some other names in Spain, mugil or mujol which appear to refer to any species of grey mullet
At home, in UK, grey mullet is one of the cheaper fish and is excellent cooked simply with lemon, herbs and garlic. I have never understood why the British, surrounded by water do not eat most of the edible fish in their own waters.
My brother and his wife were staying with us recently and they like “simple”, healthy food and this is a very simple dish which I am sure would delight Rick Stein because he, like me knows how good grey mullet can be cooked simply with lemon, herbs and garlic. He has some tasty recipes in Taste of the Sea but here is mine.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 whole grey mullet (1 – 1½ kilo)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
1 -2 cloves garlic
¼ preserved lemon or thinly pared zest of lemon or lime
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2-3 tbsp Olive oil
Take a large piece of foil large enough to wrap the fish. Make a marinade with the olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, chopped oregano and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you are using preserved lemons you may wish to omit or reduce the salt as the preserved lemons will be very salty. (I have prepared a separate blog and recipe for preserved lemons).
Make deep slashes on each side of the fish, about 2 ins/25 cms apart and rub the outside and body cavity with the marinade working into the slashes. Any excess marinade should be put in the cavity.
If using preserved lemons, take a quarter of one preserved lemon, remove all flesh and discard. Rinse the remaining skin to remove excess salt and slice finely. Push the thinly sliced preserved lemon (or zest of lemon/lime if you do not have preserved lemons) into each slash and place remainder in body cavity.
Wrap loosely in the foil and leave in the fridge for ½ -1 hour. Unlike meat, fish does not need a lengthy marinade process as the purpose is only to impart the flavours not to tenderise.
Place the parcel in a roasting tray in a pre-heated oven, 180C and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on size of the fish. Check after 30 minutes to see if fish is cooked – it should be opaque and flaky if not fully cooked, cover again and continue cooking. When cooked, open foil and leave for a further 5 minutes uncovered and then serve with any juices and a sprinkling of fresh parsley with steamed new potatoes.