Red mullet is classified as a round white fish but has a richer and more satisfying flavour than most thanks to its higher fat content. It is sometimes compared to shellfish in taste, and in fact feeds on them.
There are two main types of red mullet available in Britain. As the name suggests, they have a red-coloured skin, but one has a thin yellow band running along its body, the other has an attractively mottled skin. Both are generally small, and considered best when under 500g in weight, though in ancient Rome they were highly prized and preferred much larger. The red mullet is no relation of the grey mullet.
Unusually for a fish, the red mullet's liver is considered a delicacy in its own right, and that's one reason why mullet are often sold and cooked ungutted.
Red mullet is good grilled, then served with a lively sauce such as salsa verde. It can also be shallow-fried, baked or cooked en papillote (in a bag).