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Pan Fried Grey Mullet with Preserved Lemon Sauce

Pan fried grey mullet fillets cooked in ras el hanout flavoured butter served with a thick “sauce” of preserved lemons, parsley & olive oil.

The sauce takes around 10 minutes to prepare and this can be done well in advance and the fish takes just 5 minutes to cook.

Overhead pan fried grey mullet fillet served with preserved lemons and parsley and giant couscous.

Grey Mullet Fillet with Ras el Hanout and Preserved Lemons

I adore developing recipes like this, it is a simply cooked piece of fish with some complimentary and contrasting flavours.

When it comes to a dinner that is quick and easy to cook but feels special, fish is ideal!

It joins dishes like masala fish with coley, deviled mackerel fillets, baked hake with romesco sauce and also a spectacular pan fried hake with chorizo and potatoes recipe.

The star of this dish is some quickly pan fried grey mullet that is finished with some ras el hanout mixed with butter which gives it a beautiful colour.

It is contrasted by a really thick preserved lemon, parsley and garlic “sauce”.

It is really simple to cook, and quick too because the fish takes just 5-6 minutes and the sauce needs no cooking at all. This gives you plenty of time to make a stonkinginly good side.

Close up preserved lemon, garlic and parsley sauce served on grey mullet fillets.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does grey mullet taste like?

Grey mullet is a wonderfully firm-fleshed fish that has a slightly earthy flavour. It’s only slightly earthy and not a muddy fish like carp.

This makes it perfect when serve with the ras el hanout and preserved lemon flavours in this recipe.

Can I use a different fish?

Yes, the flavours in this dish generally work with everything from salmon to mackerel and trout to coley.

Can I use regular lemons in the sauce?

No, this dish really needs preserved lemons, they have a much milder flavour and add both acidity and salt.

You can make preserved lemons at home and you can buy them in many large supermarkets.

They are wonderful and I use them in dishes like my Moroccan-influenced chicken tagine and my baked chermoula chicken thighs.

What is sumac?

Sumac is the dried berry of a shrub that is used in North African cuisine as a seasoning and also as an ingredient in spice mixes and as a cooking spice.

It has a delicious tart flavour, but also a hint of sweetness paired with floral tones.

Can I make this in advance?

You can make the sauce up to a couple of days in advance so long as it is stored in an airtight container. However, the parsley does lose some of its vibrant colour, however, the flavour levels get turned up to 11!

The fish really does need to be cooked and served immediately.

Pan fried grey mullet fillet served with preserved lemons, parsley and giant couscous.

Serving Suggestions

I’ve paired this pan-fried grey mullet fillet in these with the same giant couscous salad that I serve with my roasted cauliflower steak.

The orange combination of both orange and rose harissa paste are a wonderful match with the fish and preserved lemon sauce.

It would work equally well with other North African and Persian grain dishes like tabbouleh salad or even plain bulgur wheat.

Sticking with the couscous idea, you could make extra sauce and stir it through some buttered couscous. You could also serve it with my delicious roasted vegetable couscous.

I’m also keen on serving this with my Morrocan-influenced vegetable tagine recipe.

If you wanted a bit of a side salad that works with the flavours of the fish and the sauce, this Moroccan beetroot salad with orange would also be perfect.

Close-up pan fried grey mullet fillet served with preserved lemons and parsley.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions you can ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 30cm or 12″ nonstick frying pan or skillet.
  • Mixing bowls.
  • Stirring spoons and forks.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Fish slice or spatula.
Pan fried grey mullet with a preserved lemon sauce served with giant couscous salad.
Yield: 2 Servings

Pan Fried Grey Mullet Recipe with Preserved Lemon Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Beautifully firm grey mullet fillets are pan-fried to perfection and finished with ras el hanout butter and a garlicy preserved lemon sauce.


  • 2 (350g Total) Grey Mullet Fillets
  • 35g (2 Tbsp) Butter at room temperature
  • 1 Tsp Ras el Hanout
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil

For the Sauce

  • 75g (¼ Cup) Preserved Lemons
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 15g (1 Cup) Parsley
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ Tsp Sumac


  1. If needed pin bone the fish fillets.
  2. Place the softened butter in a small bowl and mash it with the ras el hanout.
  3. Dice the preserved lemons as finely as you can and place them in a bowl.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves and mash them into a paste and add them to the preserved lemon.
  5. Chop the parsley as finely as you can and add it to the preserved lemons and garlic mix.
  6. Add the olive oil for the sauce to the bowl along with the sumac, give it all a mix and have a taste, add salt if required, but it should not be needed.
  7. Season the mullet with the salt.
  8. Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat and add the oil when it is hot.
  9. Pan fry the mullet, skin side down for 2-3 minutes, flip the fish and add the butter and ras el hanout mix and cook for another minute basting the fish for another 90 seconds.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 542Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 127mgSodium: 887mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 41g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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