The mullet isn’t just an old-school hairstyle but a popular fish throughout many parts of the world. There are nearly 80 species of this fish around the planet, and it has been eaten since the Ancient Roman days.
That rich diversity of species gives them many flavors, textures, and looks.
In this article, we’ll highlight mullet taste, discuss its texture, highlight a few different species, and provide three recipes you can use when cooking this fish.
This information should make it easier for you to enjoy just about any mullet you find on the market.
What Is Mullet?
Mullets are a fish family that includes multiple ray-finned species throughout temperate and tropical waters along the ocean’s coasts.
Some mullets also thrive in freshwater, though they are primarily a saltwater fish. There are 78 different species with similar looks and feeding habits.
Mullets generally eat detritus or whatever debris they can find in the ocean. This means they have a very diverse diet that can vary depending on where they live.
Mullets are known for their muscular stomachs and complex pharynx that help digest multiple types of food.
What Does Mullet Taste Like?
Mullet is a very popular fish because it has a slightly earthy flavor with a juice aftertaste and a slight fish undertone.
Its roe or eggs are also very popular and have a briny flavor that is very rich in fishy aftertaste. While this flavor may vary based on species, it is usually fairly uniform.
Mullet compares favorably to mackerel and pompano, with a very similar overall taste. The mullet may be slightly fishier or sharper in taste, however.
All three work well in similar recipes and also have similar textures and looks to their meat.
What Does A Mullet Look Like?
A living mullet has a streamlined body with a fairly uniform width throughout its length. They have small dorsal fins but a larger tail with a split end.
They look a bit like much larger minnows, though they can have varying looks based on the species types.
Mullet meat has a pink undertone that may lighten up once it is cooked, particularly when baked.
It generally retains a slightly pink or reddish look throughout the flesh, with patches of white throughout. Most mullet fillets are rather thin and not as thick as salmon or other fish steaks.
What Texture Does Mullet Have?
Mullet has a firm and juicy texture before and after it is cooked, which makes it fairly enjoyable to eat. This texture lacks the mushiness common with other fish.
However, mullet isn’t quite as firm as salmon or other fish, with denser overall fillets.
This middle ground makes mullets a popular option for people who want fish a bit thicker than carp but a little less dense than salmon.
Their sharper flavor also makes it a good alternative to salmon, though people who like the lighter carp may be put off by mullet.
Types Of Mullet?
Mullet come in nearly 80 varieties and discussing them all here would take too much time. Some aren’t commonly consumed, while others have been heavily fished and may be in danger.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common mullet species types to give you a better idea of what to expect:
- Thick-Lipped Grey Mullet – This large mullet species has a very smooth body and a smaller head with a triangular mouth. They are one of the more common mullets. Due to their heavy breeding habits, they are not endangered, despite heavy fishing and their meat’s popularity.
- Thin-Lipped Grey Mullet – With a name nearly identical to its larger cousin, this mullet also looks similar. However, it has a much thinner lip and a slightly bluish tinge to its body. The meat tastes pretty similar, which makes it a heavily fished species in many regions.
- Golden Grey Mullet – As this species’ name suggests, it has golden coloring that makes it easy to identify. It isn’t commonly caught outside of shore regions and is fairly small, meaning it is rarely used for food. However, some companies may use them due to their slightly blander taste.
These are just three species and many more are eaten throughout the world. The slight variations in their looks and tastes make mullet meals rather unique around the world.
However, you can usually easily substitute one mullet species for another in most meals.
Where Do Mullet Come From?
Mullet are common throughout most of the oceans and are commonly in shallower regions. However, some mullet species may prefer deeper water, where they can more easily find detritus floating through the water.
Others may stick to shallower regions where it is harder for predator fish to hunt them down and eat their roe.
Is Mullet Healthy? Or Dangers Of Eating Mullet? Do They Have Worms? Is It Poisonous?
Mullet has multiple nutrients, such as a high level of protein, that make them very healthy. They typically have no carbohydrates or sugars, which makes them friendly for keto.
In some cases, mullet may have parasites, worms, or bacteria that need to be removed before eating this fish. Thankfully, mullet is not poisonous.
How Do You Eat Mullet? What Is The Best Way To Cook?
Mullet is commonly prepared and eaten in several ways, including:
- Deep-fried to create fish and chips
- Pan-fried and served with potatoes or veggies
- Grilled and seasoned with various ingredients
- Dried, salted, or smoked to preserve its flesh longer
- Marinated to make it easier to add to salads or pasta
- Poaches, broiled, or even steamed to improve its flavor
The best way to cook mullet is to pan-fry it because it lightly browns its skin and produces an appealing flavor that blends well with many side dishes.
Can You Eat Mullet Raw?
Yes, you can eat mullet raw and it can be very tasty when served this way. However, it is not often served this way because it may cause intestinal distress.
How Can I Store Mullet?
You can store mullet by placing it in a refrigerator for up to three days before throwing it out. Smoked or preserved mullet can be kept longer but still no more than about a week.
Shredded or pureed mullet has the same lifespan, so make sure you pay attention to it just as closely.
Can You Freeze Mullet?
Freeze mullet as you would any other fish we’ve discussed, such as mahi mahi. Wrap it carefully in a freezer-safe plastic container.
Put the fish close to the back of your freezer to give it the most freezing power and throw it away when you see any freezer burn.
How To Tell If Mullet Is Bad?
Throw away any mullet when you notice an intense fishy smell or discolorations on the flesh. These discolorations may include black or brown regions where mold or mildew grows.
Eating this fish could cause serious stomach problems, so simply throw it away to stay safe.
Mullet Vs. Whiting
Whiting has a milder flavor than mullet and is typically considered a better fish for general seafood meals. However, whiting also has a lower fat content and a similar protein level.
It may work well if mullet is too strong for you, but you do like its general overall flavor.
How Do You Cook And Clean Mullet?
Mullet cooks well by steaming or baking it because you can add various spices, veggies, and other items to give it more depth. However, you can also put mullet in soup, add it to salads, and even use it as a sandwich topper.
Make sure to clean your mullet by washing it down before eating to avoid any dangerous infections, like bacteria or parasites.
Nutritional Value Table
|Nutritional Value of One Mullet Fillet (93 grams)
Quick Table: 3 Mullet Taste Recipes
|Red Mullet With Sweet Chili
|Smoked Mullet Spread
This delicious meal comes right from the cookbook of Gordon Ramsay, one of the most popular chefs on television.
It isn’t something to do if you haven’t worked with fish before, so make sure you feel comfortable cooking with it. If you do, try it out to get a complex and delicious meal.
Start by mixing chili, garlic, sugar, and fish sauce in a mortar and pound until it is fully pureed.
Now, add more fish sauce, olive oil, and white wine vinegar to the mortar and mix them well with a spoon before adding spring onions, lime juice, and coriander leaves.
Put this mix in a small bowl for now and set it aside before placing skinned peanuts, chili flakes, and salt in another mortar.
Mix these together until coarsely ground and add chopped coriander before mixing with eggs and fish soil in a separate bowl and set aside.
Dip your fish fillets into the second egg mixture and coat them evenly on all sides so that the chili mix will stick.
Add the chili mix to the surface of the fish and cook each fish fillet for 2-3 minutes on an oil-coated pan. Make sure each side is fully brown before topping it with lime sauce and sweet chili sauce.
This recipe takes a little longer than others on our list and is something to approach if you already have good experience cooking fish.
We strongly recommend it to those who love spicy foods and have an adventurous appetite. It is probably best to eat after trying other mullet dishes first.
Calories Per Serving: 70
Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
The best thing about mullet is its adaptability with a variety of different meals. It can be used in a surprisingly diverse array of foods and meals, including this fantastic spread.
If you’re someone who loves fish dip, we urge you to read on to learn more about this amazing meal.
Start by carefully cleaning your mullet, if necessary, before mixing cream cheese, celery, jalapeno, lime zest, parsley, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and onions in a food processor.
Process these ingredients several times to make sure that they blend properly.
Now you can add your fish and pulse the mix several times until it looks fully blended. You should see only small bits of fish through the dip when it is done pulsing.
You can now add salt, pepper, and any extra lemon juice to add a little bit more to its taste.
It is important to let your dip chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving it. Doing so helps to give it the proper texture and lets the ingredients settle a little.
Serve it with pita chips, crackers, or any other snacks that you enjoy.
If you’re someone who loves hosting big parties and wants a different type of dip, we strongly suggest this recipe.
It is also a great way to introduce your children to mullet because it is a more palpable option for many younger children. Make sure you store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
Calories Per Serving: 50
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Egyptian food doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves in culinary tradition. For example, this delicious mullet meal uses various Egyptian traditions to create a surprisingly rich meal.
It is not a quickly prepared meal but is well worth it when you finish cooking.
Start by adding lemon juice to a bowl with cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and a little salt.
Mix these ingredients fully and then make a slight cut in a full mullet fish. Massage these ingredients into this slit to work it through the body before cooing for an hour in the fridge.
Remove your fish from the fridge and mix flour, baking powder, and cornflour in a large bowl before coating your fish with it.
Heat your frying oil to at least 365 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the fish carefully to the pain. Try to mix them evenly through the pain to avoid burning them, and cook until their flesh is brown on all sides.
The biggest challenge with this meal is that you’ll be cooking with the whole mullet, which can be a little intimidating for some people.
However, it provides a unique array of flavors that make it a great option. We suggest it for people who don’t mind breaking apart a fish while eating.
As for side dishes, it is important to serve them with something like potatoes or veggies. These dishes help to balance the flavor and create a more rounded meal.
A little feta cheese is often a great topping for your veggies and gives this meal a further Mediterranean feel.
Calories Per Serving: 50
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Mullet Diets Affect Their Taste?
Mullets have pretty diverse eating habits that may vary depending on their species. Generally, they typically eat a variety of different detritus types that may include sea life that gives them a more protein-rich meat.
However, those that eat more bottom-dwelling fish detritus may have a slightly different taste.
That’s because bottom-eating species often eat a lot of mud with their food, which can change their meat’s flavor quite heavily.
That change of taste gets passed to the mullet and other predatory fish but at a much lower level. It doesn’t affect the nutrient level of the mullet much.
Do Long-Living Mullets Taste Better?
Mullets can live up to 13-17 years, and age can affect their overall flavor. That’s because older fish often have a slightly weaker flesh that naturally lacks muscle fibers due to a more sedentary lifestyle.
This may cause the mullet to be a little more tender, depending on the species.
Catching older mullets is common in areas where these fish haven’t been caught in high levels. Older mullets may be less likely to bite bait due to a lower appetite, though, which can also make catching them more challenging.
Some older mullets may also have a slightly muddier taste due to changing eating habits.
Should I Fry Mullets?
You can easily fry mullets if that’s more to your taste than baking or broiling. However, mullet typically cooks better using those methods and retains most of its ingredients. Frying usually strips food of many vitamins and minerals and also leaves behind a greasy residue.
Pressing a paper towel to the mullet can absorb much of that grease and make them a leaner and healthier fish.
The same can’t be said for deep-frying, which leaves behind a tasty coating but a very grease-soaked meat that is not as healthy as baking or frying.
Are Mullets Low In Mercury?
Mullets are considered relatively safe fish for mercury poisoning by most professionals. That means its safer to eat more than one serving per week of this fish.
However, most medical experts suggest still eating just one fish serving a week to lower your risk further.
Note that these mercury levels may slightly increase if the mullet eat bottom-dwelling fish. These fish may scoop up more mercury than other species and leave behind trace amounts in the mullet.
Typically, though, they are still considered a relatively safe fish for mercury levels.
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