Red Mullet with Thyme

When most people hear mullet, they scrunch up their faces in confusion. And understandably so. Mullet is a misnomer in many cases. Red mullet actually belongs to the goatfish family and isn’t a mullet at all. Regardless of origin, though, this fish and its simple presentation are sure to please.–Rick Stein

Red Mullet with Thyme Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4


  • For the fish
  • Four (8 to 10 ounces) red mullet, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 8 teaspoons)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the salad
  • 1 pound small vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 medium-hot red chile pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup good-quality black olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • Make the fish
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Season the whole fish inside and out with salt and pepper and put 2 sprigs of thyme in the cavity of each one.
  • 2. Brush four 12-inch squares of foil with a little of the olive oil and put a fish diagonally across the center of each piece. Bring the sides of the foil up around the fish and crimp it together tightly at each end, leaving the top open.
  • 3. Mix the wine with 1/4 cup of water. Pour 2 tablespoons of the wine and water mixture, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into each parcel. Add the remaining sprigs of thyme and season with a little more salt and pepper. Seal the parcels well and place on a large baking sheet. Bake the fish for 10 minutes.
  • Make the salad
  • 4. Meanwhile, for the salad, scatter the tomato wedges, red chile, garlic, and olives on four small plates. Drizzle the olive oil over the salad. Season with some salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley.
  • To serve
  • 5. Put the unopened parcels of fish on four warmed plates. Take them to the table with a bowl of fries cooked in olive oil and the plates of tomato salad. Let each person open up their own parcel.
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