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Red mullet

Ancient Romans had a ritual of killing of the red mullet directly in the middle of a feast. The philosopher Seneca wrote about it: "There is no show more perfectly, than the red mullet dying in an agony. In fight against death it gets the purple color turning into the general pallor …".

Рыба барабулька


The red mullet (a sultanka ordinary, a barvena, a krasnoborodka, mullahs) – the gregarious sea fish from Barabulev' family having the body extended, compressed on each side painted unevenly in red tone. The head of fish big, with almost vertical snout and two long moustaches which are hanging down from a chin. Fins are light yellow. By the size fish seldom is more than 30 centimeters, but meat at her on taste extraordinary tasty and gentle that is appreciated for a long time by the fishermen trading at coast of the Azov, Black and Mediterranean seas.

Sultanka is widespread not only in these water basins. She can be met along all east coast of the Atlantic Ocean, from Great Britain and Scandinavia to Canary and the Azores and Dakar. Small fish packs prefer to keep at a soft oozy or sandy bottom at a depth about 30 meters. By means of the short moustaches they "dig" in soil in search of food – small invertebrates. Spawning at the red mullet happens from May to August. At this time each female throws till several portions of caviar which after fertilization rise in headwaters. Several days later from berries larvae which begin to eat actively vyluplivatsya and already in few months turn into young big fishes of 5 centimeters with a typical color for red mullets.


Nutrition value of a sultanka on advantage was appreciated still by ancient Romans. Especially jumbos for which rich men were ready to lay out a round sum were held in high esteem. Called fish of "mullahs" in those days, and paid with silver for the weight of fish. The Roman poet Horace concerning such unjustified wastefulness wrote: "You praise, mad, you are a mullah for that only one that he is powerful exactly in three pounds …".

But patricians spared no expense and bought fish for the sums fabulous for those times. Why fish cost so much? Here's the thing: Romans one of the first in Europe learned to support red mullets in special pools - "pistsina". To service similar big aquariums it was very expensive and troublesome, sea water in them quickly stagnated and spoiled therefore it was necessary to watch that water in pools was constantly changed. And water was brought from the sea. Keeping of fish in pistsina was considered as a sign of prestige and wealth, but many did not approve such entertainment. So, for example, the famous speaker Cicero wrote: "Romans, of what useless occupation you are fond! It is a shame to tell, but some imagine themselves gods if to them the mullah is possible to accustom to come on their call and to be fed from their hands". Nevertheless, it did not prevent guests to admire pistsina, to extol their owner, and later with appetite to eat inhabitants of aquariums. Conveniently, live and fresh fish always near at hand!

The red mullet not just ate. There was the whole ritual. Fish was killed directly in the yard before numerous looks of guests. It is connected with the fact that at the moment before death fish becomes covered bright, karminny color spots and as life leaves it, its color becomes pale again. After this cook fried the red mullet and gave on a table.

Now similar entertainments became obsolete the for a long time, and many people will consider them even cruel. But what for ancient Romans the death of some small fish in comparison with bloody fights in the Colosseum?

How to prepare the red mullet?

In the Mediterranean countries nutritious properties of the red mullet and nowadays in big honor. There everyone knows how to prepare the red mullet. Besides, it is tasty in any kind, and its tastes cannot be spoiled any culinary processing. From a sultanka cook tasty fish soup, do sun-dried fish, fry on a grill or a frying pan together with spices, bake in an oven.

Even the most inept cook knows how to prepare the red mullet, fish absolutely has no bile therefore it can even not undress and be not to cleaned. Of course, at restaurants serve a small small fish gutted more often, but with the head. Medium-sized fish is considered the most delicious and gentle therefore is most expensive.

Gourmets are liked the red mullet to be extinguished in white wine with spices and grape leaves, or to fry on melted butter in crackers. Especially fried red mullet is popular in Ukraine and in Russia.

Жареная барабулька

Structure and useful properties of the red mullet

The red mullet – quite caloric fish, about 150 kcal on 100 g of a product. However, despite it, it does not promote a set of weight as at its structure there is a lot of full-fledged protein and not enough fat. Fat is presented preferential by polyunsaturated fatty acids which are extremely useful to nervous and cardiovascular systems.

The red mullet recovers forces after a long exercise stress. It contains vitamin A, group B vitamins, ascorbic acid and Niacinum, and also mineral substances thanks to which fish is very useful to small children, people of old age and pregnant women.

Contraindication to the use of the red mullet is the individual intolerance.

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