RED MULLET OR GARFISH with all the usual Sicilian suspects, and yet another PESCE AL FORNO (Fish Cooked In The Oven).

Garfish are found right around the coast of Australia and in the freshwater reaches of some rivers. They have a sweet and delicate flavour, low oil content and a fine texture. They are best cooked whole and cooked quickly so the retain their moisture.


Unfortunately, numbers appear to have declined in certain parts of Australia (overfished in NSW and concerns in SA). They are a very popular fish in South Australia; having lived there and knowing some keen fishers, I am very familiar with using a rod and float-suspended baits to catch this fish – it responds well to a berley mix of pollard, crushed wheat or breadcrumbs, especially if a little fish oil is added and wiggly maggots on to small hooks (not my favourite). The Government of South Australia has now banned commercial netting of two Eyre Peninsula fisheries and in most of the coastal waters off Yorke Peninsula. At the time of writing, numbers are still reasonable in Victoria but we must take care that they are caught in a sustainable way.

When cleaning the fish the gut must be removed promptly to avoid staining of the flesh.

I particularly like garfish cooked whole. Usually I like to quickly fry or wrap them in foil and grill them over an open fire, but this time I want less fuss. I want to have them ready to cook when my guest arrives and slip them into the oven at the appropriate time.

Last time I cooked red mullet (trigle) using this recipe.

Recipe= 3 fish for 3 people .



whole small fish, 3
extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup
anchovy fillets, 2 chopped
capers, 2 tbs
white wine, 2 tbs
garlic clove, 1 chopped,
parsley chopped, 2 tbs
pine nuts, ½ cup
salt and pepper, to taste
soft white breadcrumbs, 1 cup, toasted in a frypan with ½ cup of oil.


Preheat the oven 200 C.
Mix all of the ingredients above except for the breadcrumbs and the wine.
Oil an ovenproof dish, place the fish in the dish and add the mixed ingredients.
Drizzle the white wine on top. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 5 minutes more.

Trigle (red mullet) in Catania Fish Market