Sea mullet is an incredibly delicious and more importantly very underutilised and sustainable species of mullet found on the east Australian coast throughout the year. The flesh is darkish-pink to mid-grey, with a mid-firm to soft texture, and not too many bones to pick through.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
. It has great levels of omega fatty acids and high levels of oil, especially during the spawning cycle. They are at their fattest and healthiest around April through to July (spawning season) and for this reason it’s best to buy them whole and untouched so you can pull the roe sacks yourself and create your very own bottarga.
Because of the sea mullet’s naturally high levels of oil, you want to balance it with things like:
- Pine nuts
- Seared on high heat and seasoned with salt.
- Grilled quickly on high heat then flaked through a balsamic salad
- Smoked whole on the bone
- Pull the roe sack and cure to make your own Bottarga. Use the roe again for a Taramasalata style dip
- Seared with cherry tomatoes
- Seared on high heat with sourdough and tomato relish
Always prep and eat sea mullet as quickly as you can. Because of its high oil content it will mature in flavour quickly once dispatched. For some this makes it too “fishy” – almost sardine like. Store at under five degrees, dry fillet and consume as soon as possible.
Look for a nice firm fish with great silver flashes to the scales. Always smell and look for a seawater scent, not a fishy odour. Don’t be afraid of a mullet covered in sand, these are often the best ones as they are mainly beach caught during their spawning season and as such will be in peak condition.
STEER CLEAR OF:
Soft and smelly mullet. Sea mullet is a softer fleshed species and will generally spoil quite rapidly due to their high oil content so avoid bruised and damaged fish. Reward the fisherman that handle their fish with respect, and pay a bit more for the better examples as mullet is an extremely well-priced option to start with. Whole fish should rarely be over $10/kg and skin-on fillets should rarely be over $17/kg.
Credit: Will Brunker, business development manager, Joto Fresh Fish