Broiled Red Mullet With Garlic and Herbs

May 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Fish, Greek, How To, Main, Seafood



Can you tell which pair of fish are Red Mullets and which are the pretenders? These two species of Mediterranean fish get mixed up all the time and often, one gets ripped off with the poorer, harder to clean cousin.

Red Mullet is a prized fish of the Mediterranean, ever costly and like much of the tastier fish, harder to find. It’s imposter is the Koutsomoura(goatfish).

Although both fish taste good, the red mullet is prized for it’s red colour, tastes great and I think most importantly, for it’s large spinal column structure. In short, this fish is easy to eat – as their are fewer pin bones for the eater to fuss about with.

I know the suspense is killing you all, right? Riiiiiight!

The top pair of fish are Koutsomoures (goatfish) and the bottom pair are Red Mullets (Barbounia). Bottom line? Recognize the difference if you see them at your fish monger.

The red mullet is expensive for a reason – it tastes good and it’s easy to clean and bone. The goatfish is an imposter who’s a tough customer when it comes to cleaning. Don’t get ripped off by paying a high price for goatfish.

I was quite lucky to find some red mullet this week at one of the fish mongers I frequent. It’s been a couple of years since I last ate them and I bought them without thinking twice about the price.

My preference would have been to grill them but Toronto’s had another bout of cold weather and I really wasn’t in the mood to shiver. Solution? The broiler.

Again, when available fresh, I always opt for bone-in, whole fish as I find them tastier and moist. If one visits Greece, one should indulge in the bounty of the sea and ask your waiter for the catch of the day.

Today, I recommend red mullet.

Broiled Red Mullet With Garlic & Herbs
(for 2)

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt and pepper
2 red mullets, scaled & gutted
1 tsp. of lemon thyme
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Finishing garnish
extra-virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried Greek oregano
lemon wedges

  1. Pre-heat your broiler. To a bowl, add your lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper, parsley and thyme and whisk together. Brush the mixture inside & out of the fish and place on a greased baking sheet.
  2. Broil the fish for about 5 minutes, baste again and turn over and broil for another 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the the garlic, parsley and oregano and sprinkle over top of the just cooked fish. Finish with some good extra-virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt.

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© 2008, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

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34 Comments to “Broiled Red Mullet With Garlic and Herbs”

  1. Peter G says:

    Nothing beats the flavours of garlic and fresh herbs together. Ad lets not forget the olive oil….stunning simplicity yet again Peter. I picked the wrong fish of course in your pics!

  2. Ben says:

    Ok I am taking notes on how to recognize fish. I need to start hanging out with people who like fish so I can cook these delicious dishes. You and my dad would get along well, you two know your fish :)

  3. Heather says:

    I got it right! But I thought the other one was orange roughy, not goatfish. I love the simple preparation of parsley, garlic and lemon – all a fish of good quality ever needs.

  4. giz says:

    I think I have FOF (Fear of Fish) -salmon I’m okay with but terrified to screw up everything else.

  5. Dhanggit says:

    i second emotion peterg…nothing beats a grilled fish with tons of garlic, herbs and lemon :-) i could smell its aroma from here …what do you normally serve with your grilled fish Peter? just wondrin.;thanks

  6. Marianna says:

    this is one of my favourite ways to enjoy fish, especially during the summer. I also enjoyed reading your post which was very informative, when I have the time I try to read about fish and meat parts etc etc. I find it all very interesting :-)

  7. canarygirl says:

    Looking gooooood, Peter! Simple ingredients often make the BEST dishes…and this one is totally rockin! :D

  8. Marie says:

    Yaayyy!! I guessed right. I have only had red mullet once and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Our local fish mongers shut down so it’s not so easy to get the varieties here anymore. One has to travel in to London pretty much. This delicious looking dish makes it look more than worth the trip though!

  9. Bellini Valli says:

    I’ll go with your recommendation Peter:D

  10. Marc @ NoRecipes says:

    Wow looks fantastic. I agree that fish is best enjoyed whole. It’s also easier to tell when it’s fresh whole. I like your very simple preparation.

  11. kittie says:

    I got it right too! I have a friendly fishmonger at the moment, and I quiz him constantly on the produce!

    Great dish – simple is always best with fish imo :)

  12. Peter M says:

    Pete, many have mixed up the 2 species of similar fish. Regardless, oil, fish and lemon are another holy trinity.

    Ben, I will continue to be as informative as possible with fish. In the meantime, ask the guys behind the fish counter questions…they should know a thing or two.

    Heather, orange rought is a fine fish but much bigger and wider body.

    Giz, try a whole trout…it’s very forgiving and similar to salmon.

    Dhanngit, thanks…I like a light, mustard-based potato salad and some sauteed bitter greens with olive oil and lemon. Don’t forget the white wine!

    Marianna, as I relayed to Ben, I’ll try & add little tips each time I cook with seafood.

    Val, bing the wine next time too!

    Marc, you’re totally right. I’m leery of fish fillets as one can’t tell how fresh it is.

    Kittie, the fishmonger is your friend…keep on kissin’ up!

  13. White On Rice Couple says:

    Peter, you really do some fantastic stuff with fish!!! I love all your fish dishes!!
    Thanks for the lesson here and the clarification. I haven’t had red mullet in a while. Now you’ve inspired to go get some.

  14. Fearless Kitchen says:

    This looks great… The Spouse is finally starting to be a little less leery of whole fish, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to try something similar soon!

  15. Judy @ No Fear Entertaining says:

    We have a type of mullet caught here. Doubt it’s the same though. I love the presentation with all the fresh herbs!!!

  16. Gloria says:

    what`s beautiful fish Peter are so nice!! nice pictures.xGloria

  17. Simona says:

    I had red mullet for dinner in Palermo last year, made very much like you did: totally delicious.

  18. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  19. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  20. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  21. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  22. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  23. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  24. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  25. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  26. Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) says:

    I bought some Portuguese sardines and my idea is to also keep it simple with the three basics. I know many people who claim to be foodies, but who do not have half your knowledge about food.

  27. burcu says:

    Peter, you are cruel! I absoluetly love “barbunya” and haven’t had one in at least 2 years. I didn’t even know that they exist around north america. Now I have to look for them.

  28. Sylvie says:

    You just can’t beat fresh grilled fish with herbs and garlic. Fantabulous.

  29. Núria says:

    He, he, I knew the answer… I love them and the way you cook them make their flavours arise even more! Didn’t you take the guts off? They can give a bitter taste.

  30. Peter M says:

    Nuria, silly girl…of course I gutted the fish.

  31. Núria says:

    Peter, smart boy… didn’t see any cuts in the picture :D

    There’s one thing for you in my place… since you didn’t show… I’m getting anxious to have your comment… can’t wait… will you come and see?
    Have a great weekend!!!

  32. Hunter Angler Gardener Cook says:

    Where the hell did you find red mullet in Canada? They are Mediterranean fish. Silver mullet are common in the western Atlantic, but but red ones. Nice find!

    Easiest tip on telling if whatever you are looking at is a mullet? Large scales. Mullet of all sorts have huge scales.

    Whenever I find them — which is almost never — I always do them in a sweet-sour orange-ouzo sauce.

  33. Proud Italian Cook says:

    Your fish dishes always look so fresh and flavorful, I love how you smother it with herbs!!

  34. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Love this fish dish! There’s something about whole fish done simply like this that makes me salivate.

    I’m enjoying your blog. Just wandering around, looking at all the yummy dishes.

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