There are many ways to cook mullet. You can bake it, dry it, smoke it, curry it, or fry it. A mullet fry (note that “fry” is a noun, not a verb) is not just a way to prepare fried fish. A mullet fry is a party that can last from morning into the night. Mullet can be caught in cast nets or a gill net (if it’s legal where you live), purchased fresh from your favorite seafood shop, or defrosted from your freezer. Fresh-caught mullet is hard to beat. While those who like to fish are out, those who prefer to stay at home prepare the side dishes and set up and set the tables.
Bay dwellers often walk out hip deep into the shallow bay waters or cast from a boat or pier to cast their nets using the largest size they can comfortably manage. (The size of a cast net varies from six to fourteen feet. The more area covered by the net when cast, the more fish you can catch.) In the old days, nets were made of twine, today, however, mesh is the net of choice because of the lighter weight. Weights are attached to the edges of the net. Nets can be purchased in stores, online, or custom made.
Mullet is a schooling fish. When the call goes out that the mullet are schooling nearby, Fishermen grab their nets and head for the water. Some couples buy matching nets to share the fun and avoid altercations. (I admit to having my own custom net, one of a pair. Unfortunately, it’s been retired for a while, but one can always hope.) After a long fishing day, the catch is washed, cleaned, and fileted. Ice cold beer is the drink of choice for the rest of the day/evening.
The cooks begin their work by drying the filets with paper towels. Dip the filets in your favorite mustard, wipe off the excess, then dredge the filets in seasoned cornmeal. Place filets in a deep fryer 2/3 full of your favorite oil. A propane burner keeps the oil at the best temperature for frying. Cook fish until it flakes which will only take in a few minutes. Use a wire basket to remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain. Serve with lemon, tartar sauce, remoulade, hush puppies and BEER. Enjoy!!
Tomorrow, my favorite sauce and side dish recipes for the perfect mullet fry. Rita Bay