This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
There are two fishes of the name, the red and gray mullet. The latter is one of the most abundant sea-fish of the southern coasts, and is cheap and but little esteemed accordingly. It is of good flavor, especially in the winter season; its flesh is rather dark and does not color as handsomely in the processes of cooking as most other fish. The red mullet is found in the same localities, but in very limited quantities, and is seldom seen in the markets.
"Most cooks make no distinction in dressing the red and gray mullet; though the former is cooked woodcock fashion, without drawing, so delicate is the fish." "If you get red mullet fresh from the sea, dress them as is done with woodcock, retaining the trail; but inland this is not a safe proceeding." "A lover of mullet, the late Duke of Portland, was in the habit of going to Weymouth during the summer months for the sake of the red mullet which formerly abounded there. The largest used to be had for threepence or four-pence apiece; but he has been known to give two guineas for one weighing a pound and a half. His Grace's custom was to put all the livers together into a butter-boat, to avoid the chances of inequality; very properly considering that, to be helped to a mullet in the condition of an East Indian nabob, would be too severe a shock for the nerves or spirits of any man".
"Quinn the actor used to declare that the mullet was only created for its liver to serve as sauce to the John dory." "A large mullet may be cut into fillets and fried, and served with sliced cucumber. The livers are the only sauce to be eaten with mullet".
"The Romans served the mullet with a seasoning of pepper, rue, onions, dates, and mustard, to which they added the flesh of the sea-hedgehog reduced to a pulp, and oil." "Red mullets are the favorite fish in Greece. They are cooked in oil, with garlic, parsley and cayenne pepper; you then strain tomatoes and make a good sauce, and" let the fish cook in it very slowly, adding lemon juice".
Red mullets sprinkled with oii and parsley, broiled in papers.
Red mullets baked in papers, served with Italian sauce.
Ude considered it a great insult when in England a customer at the club refused to pay six-pence for a sauce."Wouldn't pay for my mullet sauce!" he exclaimed, "what, docs he think mullets come out of the sea with my sauce in their pockets?"