The book, along with my travels in Japan and much of Europe and even down in Tanzania, remind me of how narrow-minded we Texans can be about which of our native fish we deign to eat. I've never caught a largemouth bass (being solely a saltwater fisherman) , but have heard from white Texan freshwater fishermen that they're not worth eating. I learned how wrong that was when I ate one that a friend had caught and his Vietnamese immigrant mother had cooked which was fantastic. Once my dad and I were out fishing with a guide who was appalled that I wanted to keep the sheepshead I caught (fantastic eating), or the bluefish my dad was thrilled to catch (dad's originally from New Jersey and said he hadn't had broiled bluefish in 40 years). This guide wouldn't even eat redfish, only trout. I asked him if he had ever tried sheepshead, and he said no. I asked him how he knew sheepshead wasn't good to eat then, and it was something along the lines of "nobody I know eats those". That's how these prejudices against a certain species get passed down, from father to son, each repeating what his father had told him, no telling how many generations it has been since an ancestor dared to try the despised fish himself, if at all.
Mullet has to be the most despised of Texas's saltwater denizens, eating wise (well, maybe next to hardheads), and yet I doubt 99% of Texas anglers have even tried one. So this weekend, when I managed to catch 4 big ones in my cast net, I thought I'd give mullet the Pepsi Challenge.
I started out by frying a fillet, dredged in a simple batter of AP flour, salt, and club soda. It was a nice mild flaky white fish. Not fishy tasting, not muddy.
So then I moved on to a classic recipe, smoked mullet. I butterflied it, soaked it in my standard fish brine, and then smoked it with cherry wood. Straight out of the smoker with a squirt of lemon, not bad at all. Even better flaked up and mixed with cream cheese, mayo, chopped green onion, a dash of hot sauce, spread on crackers.