Unlike the golden roe that comes from female mullet fish, white mullet roe -- also known as "soft roe" -- comes from male mullet fish. While white roe doesn't have the same intense, rich flavor of its golden counterpart, its milder briny, nutty flavor lends itself well to cooking methods like pan-frying to making tender patties. Keep the recipe and seasonings that you pair with the white roe as simple as possible to let the delicate flavor shine.
Heat a heavy-bottomed skilled over medium or medium-high heat. Once you can feel the heat after passing your hand over the pan, add cooking oil or butter. Add a hint of smokiness and extra depth of flavor by substituting bacon drippings for the cooking oil.
Add some all-purpose flour to a shallow bowl. After sprinkling the mullet roe with salt and pepper, dip it into the flour to dust it lightly, creating a thin coating. Alternatively, hold the flour and simply season to taste.
Fry the roe for a couple minutes on each side, until it is nicely browned and crunchy. Serve the fried roe with a wedge of lemon.
Place the mullet roe in a bowl and lightly mash it with a fork. In a separate bowl, whisk a few chicken eggs together and stir them into the roe.
Add sliced or minced scallions, which add a mild oniony flavor and a pop of green color. Stir in some black pepper and some fish sauce. Alternatively, you could use soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, depending on your preferences.
Stir in about 1 tablespoon of flour for every 1 to 2 cups of soft roe to help the patties hold together.
Heat cooking oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet placed over medium or medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, ladle the white roe mixture into the pan, working in batches since the mixture will spread out.
Flip the patties once the bottoms are browned, letting them continue cooking for another couple of minutes or until both sides are golden. Remove them from the pan and continue cooking the patties until you’ve cooked all of the batter.
Serve the tender white mullet roe patties rolled and secured with a toothpick to retain its shape. Use your favorite dipping sauce or place some additional fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce in a bowl.
- The Freshwater Fish Cookbook: More Than 200 Ways to Cook Your Catch; A.D. Livingston
- Try a Southern take on pan-fried mullet roe by soaking your roe in beer, buttermilk or tomato juice for a few hours. Then dust it with corn meal and fry it in a hot pan coated with peanut oil until the roe is golden brown. Serve it along with other Southern favorites such as grits and bitter greens.
Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.