Grey mullet Mugil cephalus
Goldeneye mullet Liza aurata
Grey mullet are svelte, herbivorous, bottom-feeders that are found all over the world. They can live in brackish waters like estuaries and swim in large shoals.
Their golden eyed cousins are a rare treat and are almost impossible to find in a fishmongers. They are the smallest of the British mullet species and easily identifiable by the yellow/gold markings around their eyes and gill slits.
The best mullet (like ours) are caught out at sea, rather than in estuaries, where the muddy waters can impart an unpleasant taste. They are notoriously hard to catch on a rod and line and are normally caught using drift nets.
Mullet have a sweet, yet subtly earthy flesh. They hold up well to a spicy rub or punchy marinade, unlike bass or bream, which have a more delicate flavour.
Mullet have large scales and will need these removing prior to gutting and cooking. Simply run the back of a knife along the length of the body, starting at the tail end. It’s best to do this in a bag, otherwise you’ll end up with scales in your hair!
(Click to enlarge)