Gray Mullet
Gray Mullet [Flathead Mullet, Striped Mullet, Black Mullet; Mugil cephalus]

Found world wide in coastal waters, this fish can grow to 47 inches and 26 pounds but the photo specimen was 15-1/2 inches, weighing 1 pound 6-1/2 ounces. They are caught wild and farmed and are not considered threatened. They are not often seen in North American markets except along the Southeast Coast, but are a very important commercial fish in many parts of the world. It is a good eating fish - look for it in Philippine and Southeast Asian fish markets.

General:   Gray Mullet has light colored flesh and good medium flavor, a bit stronger skin-on. It should be purchased as fresh as possible and eaten the same or next day.

Cooking:   Because of its broad head it is most suitable for use as fillets. Fillets are very good for pan frying and you can fry fillets skin-on, producing a nice crisp skin. Dust both sides with rice flour and fry the inside first, then flip skin side down. Hold the fillet down with your turner for a few seconds until the skin relaxes.

Gray Mullet fillets can be poached. Whole fish can be baked. Make a few shallow diagonal cuts so skin shrink won't tear the flesh. Flesh of a baked mullet is too tender to lift whole fillets off the bones.

Cleaning:   Gray Mullet is covered with very large strong scales that take a bit of energy to scrape off. The body cavity is large and filled with really yucky stuff. The gills pull out fairly easily.

Fillets:   This fish fillets quite easily. When you get to the rib cage, cut the ribs from the backbone with kitchen shears and then pull them from the fillet with your long nose pliers - they are large, few, and pull easily.

Yield:   A 1 pound 6-1/2 ounce fish yielded 9-5/8 oz of skin-on fillet (43%) and 8-1/4 oz of skinless fillet (37%). Yield is moderate due to the fish's heavy head.

Skin:   The skin has moderate shrinkage in cooking and then relaxes. It can sometimes be peeled off by hand but the usual long knife and cutting board Method works well. You will lose most of the belly when skinning, but there really isn't much there to lose.

Stock:   Heads, bones and fins, simmered for about 40 minutes, make a serviceable light flavored stock (Method), but a significant amount of oil needs to be separated from it before use (use your gravy separator).

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