Gordon has been sea fishing and cooking since childhood. He loves coming up with tasty ways of cooking his fresh catch when he gets home.
What Is Whiting? An Underrated Fish
Whiting is a name given to different types of fish around the world. The whiting featured on this page is also commonly known as English whiting and is native to the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.
It's nothing short of a travesty that whiting is often hugely underrated as an eating fish, and particularly that it is a species which is adversely affected by the horrific discard process in the North Sea. In fact, an estimated two-thirds of all whiting caught by trawlers in this part of the world are dumped back in the sea—dead!—due to the lunacy of European Union fisheries policies.
How Good Is It?
So how good an eating fish is whiting? Words like 'awesome,' 'delicious,' or 'fabulous' don't even scratch the surface in describing the eating experience that the humble whiting affords.
A cousin of the Atlantic cod, whiting is similar in many ways to its severely endangered and overfished relative. But whiting is considerably more delicate in both texture and flavour. This means that, although whiting is the perfect sustainable substitute for cod in many recipes, we have to be careful to not overwhelm its delicate taste or cause it to break up due to inappropriately extensive or robust cooking techniques.
This page looks at a few very different ideas for whiting recipes for you and your family to enjoy. This includes:
- Puff pastry of whiting with new potatoes, carrots, and peas
- Whiting fish pie with garlic fried beans and sweet corn
- Pan-fried fillet of whiting in bread crumbs with real chips
- Links to other great whiting recipes on HubPages and around the web
Lastly, should you need any further motivation—aside from the taste and sustainability factors—you are likely to find that whiting in your fishmonger's or supermarket is considerably less expensive than cod.
Puff Pastry Parcel of Whiting With New Potatoes, Carrots and Peas Recipe
Note: This recipe was very much an experiment and a slightly risky one in that that there was a very real danger the delicate whiting could become overcooked during the time required to cook the pastry. Happily, that was not the case, and the result was very successful—the whiting was perfectly cooked and the overall effect: delicious.
Ingredients Per Serving
- 1 fresh whiting fillet
- 9” by 9” of puff pastry (approx 1/8” thick) Note: Try to buy pre-rolled puff pastry. This will make your job a lot easier.
- 3 small sprigs of fresh dill
- Baby new potatoes as desired
- 2 tbsp frozen peas
- 1 small carrot
- Little bit of butter and more fresh dill to season the potatoes
- Sea salt
- Beaten egg for glazing
- Add the potatoes to a pot followed by enough cold water to ensure they are fully covered. Season with a little sea salt. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
- Cut the whiting fillet into six or eight pieces (depending on size) and arrange it on one half of the pastry, leaving a 1" border, as shown in the pictures.
- Season the whiting with sea salt and lay the fresh dill sprigs on top.
- Glaze the border of the pastry with beaten egg and fold over the top half of the pastry, crimping the edges carefully to seal.
- Place the parcel on a lightly greased baking tray or sheet and glaze with more beaten egg.
- Make a couple of slits in the top with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape during cooking.
- Bake for twenty minutes in a preheated oven at 220C/450F, or until the pastry is beautifully golden.
- The carrot should be scraped and sliced into discs of around 1/4". Simmer in boiling water for 10 minutes. Add the frozen peas and simmer for an additional three minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the empty pot with the butter and roughly chopped remaining dill. Swirl around gently to ensure an even coating.
- Drain your peas and carrots, remove your whiting pastry from the oven, plate and serve.
Whiting Fish Pie With Garlic Fried Beans and Sweetcorn
Note: You may find yourself with slightly more béchamel sauce or mashed potatoes than you need for this recipe. Precise quantities are notoriously difficult to predict in recipes such as this, but it is better to have slightly more than is required than not enough.
Fish pie is often a fairly elaborate affair, made to include two, or even three, different types of fish, as well as vegetables such as peas, carrots or broccoli. This recipe is deliberately very simple and straightforward, made to include whiting only as its principal filling ingredient. If a more involved and substantial fish pie takes your fancy, you may want to check out the recipe for whiting and salmon pie included in the links section further down this page.
This pie will serve two people.
- ¾ lb whiting fillet
- ¾ pint full cream milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 medium floury potatoes
- 10 small sprigs of dill
- 2 ½ oz butter
- 2 oz plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 oz trimmed green beans
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp canned sweetcorn
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cut your whiting fillet in half so that it will fit more easily in the pot.
- Lay it in the pot with the bay leaf, season with salt and pour in the milk. Cook over high heat until the edges of the milk just begin to show a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to a minimum and cook for eight minutes. Be very careful of the milk reaching a boil and suddenly rising to overflow the pot. Turn the heat off and remove the whiting with a slotted spoon to a plate, discarding the bay leaf. Cover and allow to cool.
- Melt 2oz only of the butter in a clean saucepan. Add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for three or four minutes on very gentle heat.
- Add 8 to 10 fl oz of the milk in stages to form a thick, smooth béchamel sauce. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to cool.
- Peel and chop the potatoes. Add them to cold, salted water and bring to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for around 20 minutes until soft.
- Drain through a colander, return to the pot and mash with 2 to 3 fl oz of the remaining milk.
- Add four more sprigs of dill, roughly torn, and stir. Cover and cool.
- Use a teaspoon to evenly distribute the mash over the cooled whiting and sauce. Spread with a knife dipped in boiling water before baking in an oven preheated to 190C/375F for forty-five minutes. Note that placing the dish on a baking tray or sheet is a good idea, in case any overspill should occur. It's easier to wash the tray than your entire oven! Brown the top of the pie under an overhead grill. This will take three or four minutes.
- Add the remaining half ounce of butter to a small, non-stick frying pan. Gently melt. Peel the garlic clove and grate it into the melting butter. Add the beans, season with sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and cook for three or four minutes, turning the beans frequently with a spatula.
- Carefully plate the whiting pie with a slotted spoon and add the beans alongside. The sweetcorn should be spooned on the last of all before the remaining dill is used as a final garnish prior to service.
Pan Fried Fillet of Whiting in Breadcrumbs With Real Chips
Fish and chips are probably one of the most popular ways in which whiting is served in the home. Although cod or haddock are far more commonly used when preparing fish and chips, whiting is perfect for the purpose. Rather than deep frying the whiting in batter, however, it has here been shallow fried in breadcrumbs.
Ingredients Per Serving
- 1 fresh whiting fillet
- 1 large baking potato
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon wedge and sprig of parsley to garnish
First, it is necessary to prepare the chips. This procedure is not absolutely necessary, and you can simply use your own chip preparation method but it's recommended to provide delicious chips, crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the centre.
- Peel the potato and slice and chop it into chips, each slightly larger than a man's middle finger.
- Add to a pot of unsalted, cold water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to create a gentle simmer for five minutes, and drain the chips through a colander.
- Submerge them in cold water for a further five minutes before draining again and placing them in a plastic dish with a lid. Refrigerate for at least half an hour before carefully patting the chips dry on a clean, folded tea towel.
- The chips will ultimately be fried twice, the first time for five minutes at 150C/300F. After this frying, drain them on kitchen paper on a plate, cover and allow them to cool.
- Place them back in the clean plastic dish and refrigerate again for half an hour. They will be given their second frying as the whiting is being cooked.
Note: It is best to use fresh breadcrumbs for frying the whiting. They are made very simply by grating bread which is a day or two old with a coarse hand grater. Two slices of bread should provide about the right amount of breadcrumbs. Alternatively, they can be bought in bags from supermarkets. Spread the breadcrumbs evenly on a dinner plate. Break the egg into a flat-bottomed bowl, season with salt and pepper and lightly beat with a fork.
- Add a little vegetable oil to a non-stick frying pan and put it on to reach medium heat.
- Put your deep fryer on to preheat to 170C/350F to give the chips their second frying.
- Dip the whiting fillet in the egg and pat it gently on both sides in the breadcrumbs. It is important to then repeat this process to ensure the thickest and most even coating. Lay the breaded fillet in the frying pan and fry for three to four minutes on each side until the breadcrumbs are beautifully golden and the whiting is cooked.
- The chips should be fried for the second time for six or seven minutes until crisp and golden. Drain again on fresh kitchen paper.
- Lay the whiting fillet on your serving plate, the chips alongside and garnish with the lemon wedge and parsley.
Sea salt and malt vinegar are the perfect condiments for fish and chips of this type.
Are you a fan of whiting? Will you try it instead of cod?
Thank you for taking the time to read through this page. I hope it has shown you, if you didn't already know before, how whiting can be cooked in a great many different and delicious ways. However much you may love cod or haddock, please do give whiting a try, introduce yourself to a new, fabulous eating experience and help preserve fish stocks for future generations before it is too late.
Any comments which you have, either with regard to this page or on the wider issue of fish sustainability, may be left immediately below.