The red mullet has always been prized by gourmets although curiously it has never become an expensive luxury. It is sometimes called the “woodcock of the sea” because it should not be cleaned but cooked whole, with its “trail”, as a woodcock should be cooked. It is an extremely delicate fish, nearer to a fine perch than any other sea fish. In the 1850s the Duke of Portland, a notable gourmet, insisted that, taken straight from sea to table, it was the only fish worth eating and its liver an unsurpassed delicacy. He once paid a guinea for a four-pound (
Lay the mullet in a large skillet or a fish kettle. Put the chopped anchovies and onions on the fish. Divide the flour and butter mixture into
Lift the mullet on to a flat serving dish. Stir the sauce, which should have the consistency of thin cream. Do not strain the sauce but pour it over the mullet as it is. Garnish by sprinkling with the finely chopped hard-boiled egg.
©1980 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton