Can You Eat Mullet?

Can You Eat Mullet?

There are over 70 different varieties of mullet fish readily available in the United States. Most of these fish are safe to eat! If the area of water is safe, you should be okay frying up your catch of the day for dinner. 

What Type of Fish Is Mullet?

Mullet is a common name used for several species of fish in the Mugilidae family. These fish can be found in both saltwater and freshwater environments.

Mullet are known for their schooling behavior and the ability to adapt to a wide range of environments. They are often herbivorous, feeding on algae and other plant matter but may also consume small invertebrates.

Mullet are important for recreational and commercial fishermen, and they are used in various cuisines worldwide. 

What Species of Mullet Are Best for Eating?

Some of the species that taste the best include:

  1. Striped mullet (also known as flathead grey or black mullet): Usually found in coastal waters and estuaries around the world. It has a silvery body with distinctive black stripes along its sides.
  2. White mullet (also known as silver mullet): White mullet is found in the Atlantic Ocean, especially along the eastern coast of North and South America. It has a silver-colored body and a slightly pointed snout.
  3. Golden grey mullet: Native to the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. It has a golden or yellowish coloration.

How Does Mullet Fish Taste?

Overall, mullet is considered a good fish by many seafood lovers. It has a slightly sweet, fishy flavor, and its delicate texture makes it enjoyable to eat.

However, because it’s a bottom feeder and oily fish, the fishy taste can be quite strong, therefore not for everyone’s palate.

Where Is Mullet a Popular Dish?

In the southern coastal states of the U.S., mullet is a popular fish. It is often prepared by smoking, grilling, or as a fish fry dish. In Florida, for example, smoked mullet is a local delicacy.

Also, mullet roe, known as bottarga, is considered a delicacy in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Mullet roe has a distinct flavor and is often used as a condiment or ingredient to enhance the taste of other dishes.

Is Mullet Best Cooked or Raw?

Mullet is generally best cooked rather than consumed raw. While some types of fish can be enjoyed raw, especially in sushi or sashimi preparations, mullet is not one of them.

What Is the Nutritional Value of Mullet Fish?

Mullet fish is a good source of high-quality proteinomega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and potassium.

Mullet is relatively low in fat and it’s also low in calories (100g/117 kcal), so eating mullet can be beneficial for those aiming to manage their calorie intake or maintain a healthy weight.

What Is the Best Way to Cook Mullet?

Mullet tastes delicious when you smoke it, fry it, or even grill it. If you enjoy mullet, any cooking method will work for you.

Mullet can also be used in soups, stews, curries, or even prepared as fish cakes. It pairs well with citrus, herbs, garlic, and spices.

Make sure to read our article on tarpon, a fish often used to make fish cakes.

Steamed flathead grey mullet with lemons and soy sauce
Steamed flathead grey mullet with lemons and soy sauce

Pan-Fried Mullet

To enjoy pan-fried mullet, you’ll cook the fillets in a pan just like you would anything else. Pour vegetable oil or canola oil into the pan. Let the oil heat up at medium heat.

Put your seasoned fish in the pan, frying one side at a time for only a few minutes, until it becomes a golden brown color. 

Baked Mullet

To bake mullet, prepare your fish. Season it with salt, pepper, and freshly chopped herbs (such as dill, parsley and thyme).

Then, bake it at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. When the fish starts to flake easily (scrape it lightly with a fork to check), it’s cooked.

Grilled Mullet

Clean and scale the mullet, then brush it with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, rosemary or thyme.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Grill the mullet for about 4-5 minutes per side until it is cooked through and has grill marks.

Drizzle it with a squeeze of lemon and garnish with fresh herbs. You can also serve it with a fish dip.

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