Llisa is the common name for grey mullet in south eastern Spain and they were plentiful on my last visit to Santa Pola – and very cheap.
I bought six reasonably sized ones for a little over 2 Euros, which were enough to feed my daughter and her family who were with me.
I have an electric paella pan/all purpose cooker (multi cocina) which is basically a large non-stick pan with lid. This dish could be cooked in any large sauté pan or frying pan that has a good fitting lid.
For the marinade you could use any herbs that you like or are easily available. On this occasion I used some fresh rosemary and would have added some fresh fennel if it had been available, but I added ½ tsp of fennel seeds and a dash of Anis Seco. (Any dry aniseed liqueur will do e.g Pernod. Ricard, Arak, Ouzo etc but not too much as the flavour can be overpowering). If you don't like the aniseed flavour, omit the Anis and fennel and add a glass of white wine, dry sherry or dry vermouth and use whatever herbs you fancy, rosemary, thyme, oregano - the choice is yours. They all work well with mullet.
Some of the children are averse to eating things that are looking at them, so on this occasion I removed the heads before cooking!
6 grey mullet – one per person
½ tbsp chopped fresh rosemary ( or herbs of choice)
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp Anis seco or half glass of white wine, dry sherry or dry vermouth
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
¼ preserved lemon or thinly pared zest of lemon or lime
Have the fish cleaned and scaled, cut two or three slashes on each side of the fish, rub with olive oil and herbs. Put thinly sliced preserved lemon peel or lemon/lime zest in slashes and place fish in the pan with fennel seeds, and garlic. Fry gently for 2-3 minutes. Add anis or wine allow to bubble to boil off alcohol. Place lid on pan and cook on moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, turning once during cooking.
Serve with steamed or boiled new potatoes and a green salad. An alternative to new potatoes is mashed potatoes - and try the mash with finely chopped preserved lemon. Simply take the peel of a quarter of a preserved lemon (flesh removed and peel rinsed to remove excess salt) chop finely and mix it in with potatoes during mashing.