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Alaskan Salmon

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The Colorful (But Not Red) Mullet

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Q. What are other names for a fish called "mullet?" And what would be reasonable substitutes?

A. The more important question is, what fish is not a mullet? And the answer would be, a red mullet, which is an entirely different species. In this country, the mullet ranges from 1-1/2 to 4 pounds and is fished mostly around Florida. It is a fish that is best eaten near where it was caught, as it seems not to travel well. You may find it in markets outside the south, but take a good look and a good smell to ensure that it is fresh. Otherwise you'll be disappointed and inclined to believe that a mullet is not a delicious fish, when it really is.

There are various species of mullet in warm waters all over the world, including the grey mullet, the leaping grey mullet, and the golden grey mullet in southern Europe; the striped mullet and the white or silver mullet in the US and parts of South America; the greenback grey mullet and the blue-spot grey mullet in Asia; the tiger mullet in Austraila; and the bluetail mullet in South Africa. Despite all those colorful, descriptive names, the mullet may also be known as lisa — and we're not kidding.

You can substitute any plain white-fleshed fish for mullet, including flounder, grouper, sole, haddock, ocean perch, orange roughy, etc.

The mullet is largely a vegetarian fish, although that is perhaps not meaningful to you, since you are scheming to eat them.

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