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Red Mullets and Capers make this a specialty of the Cyclades, in the Aegean.
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Red Mullet in Caper Sauce (Barbounia me Saltsa Kapari)

Red mullet is arguably one of the Aegean’s most characteristic fish. Typically, it is pan-fried. This island dish, however, calls for cooking it in tomato and caper sauce, the latter a mainstay in the culinary heritage of many arid Cycladic islands. You'll want real Santorini capers for this, which you can find on my online store here.
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Greek, Greek cuisine, Mediterranean diet, pescatarian
Keyword capers, Diane Kochilas, Greek recipes, pan fried, red mullet, Santorini capers, summer recipes
COOK TIME 35 minutes


  • Salt to taste
  • 1 kilo 2 lbs. red mullet, cleaned, gutted, and heads left on
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cups firm, ripe tomatoes, grated, or good-quality canned, chopped tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup small Greek salted capers soaked in warm water for 1 hour and then drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Lightly salt the fish and set aside, covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onions over medium heat, stirring, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for a minute. Add the tomatoes and bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the drained capers and simmer for a minute.
  3. Add the fish, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer until the fish is cooked through but still tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.