Grey Mullet or Buri as it is called here in Israel ( בורי ) is one of my all-time favorite fish for intensive cooking. This robust fish suits a myriad of cooking methods, sauté, baked, grilled and especially fantastic when minced for fish cakes.
Flavor wise grey mullet has herby and earthy flavor that invites other flavors that work really well with its distinctive taste. This can include citrus dressings, Mediterranean style tomato sauces and in particular with the mellow North African spices including Ras el Hanout, paprika, coriander, garlic and chili – flavors particular loved in our part of the world.
This is my latest recipe for Grey Mullet which is a hybrid of our beloved Friday Night “Chraime” (Moroccan/Israeli spicy fish) and a Spanish fish dish.
- 1 kg grey mullet cut in slices through the bone (not filleted)
- Flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
- ⅓cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
- ½ tablespoons chili flakes
- 1 teaspoons cumin
- 1 can crushed tomatoes plus a tin of water
- 1-2 table spoons preserved lemons (or substitute with a good squeeze of lemon juice)
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
Heat olive oil in a medium deep fry pan
Dust fish with flour and sauté on both sides to a golden crust, remove fish to a plate
Add a little more olive oil to the same pan on medium heat.
Add onion, celery and garlic. Stir until soft. Add spices and stir for 30 more seconds.
Add whatever seasoned flour is left over (not too much about half a tablespoon if there is) and fry together with the vegetables and spices
Add crushed tomatoes, water and preserved lemons (or lemon juice) and stir until mixed
Cover and cook on low heat for 3 minutes (don’t let it burn).
Add fish to pan, sprinkle salt & pepper and the fresh cilantro on top
Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Flip fish, cover and cook again on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Serve with sauce chopped cilantro and plenty of bread for scooping up the sauce.