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How to Cook Whiting and Whiting Recipes

Updated on March 11, 2016
Gordon Hamilton profile image

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.

Whiting is One of the Tastiest Eating Fish in Any Sea

Fish and chips is a classic dish and whiting is the perfect choice of fish with which to make it. This is just one of the recipes you will find featured on this page.
Fish and chips is a classic dish and whiting is the perfect choice of fish with which to make it. This is just one of the recipes you will find featured on this page.

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 are also commonly known as English whiting and are native to the North-East 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.

Apart from the fact that it is likely to be smaller in size, a fresh whiting fillet does not look all that much different from haddock or cod and is more than capable of holding its own against its cousins in the taste wars
Apart from the fact that it is likely to be smaller in size, a fresh whiting fillet does not look all that much different from haddock or cod and is more than capable of holding its own against its cousins in the taste wars

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 over-fished 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

A fillet of fresh whiting is cooked in a puff pastry parcel and served with fresh assorted vegetables
A fillet of fresh whiting is cooked in a puff pastry parcel and served with fresh assorted vegetables

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.

The whiting fillet is firstly chopped in to large pieces
The whiting fillet is firstly chopped in to large pieces
The whiting pieces are laid like building blocks on the puff pastry and topped with fresh dill
The whiting pieces are laid like building blocks on the puff pastry and topped with fresh dill
The puff pastry is folded over the whiting
The puff pastry is folded over the whiting
The puff pastry parcel is glazed with beaten egg
The puff pastry parcel is glazed with beaten egg

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 potatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Beaten egg for glazing

Method

  1. 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 twenty-five minutes until the potatoes are soft.
  2. Cut the whiting fillet in to six or eight pieces (depending on size) and arrange on one half of the pastry, leaving a 1" border, as shown in the pictures.
  3. Season the whiting with sea salt and lay the fresh dill sprigs on top.
  4. Glaze the border of the pastry with beaten egg and fold over the top half of the pastry, crimping the edges carefully to seal.
  5. Place the parcel on a lightly greased baking tray or sheet and glaze with more beaten egg.
  6. Make a couple of slits in the top with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape during cooking.
  7. Bake for twenty minutes in a preheated oven at 220C/450F, or until the pastry is beautifully golden.
  8. The carrot should be scraped and sliced in to discs of around a 1/4". Simmer in boiling water for ten minutes. Add the frozen peas and simmer for an additional three minutes.
  9. Drain the potatoes and return them to the empty pot with the butter and roughly chopped remaining dill. Swirl around gently to ensure even coating.
  10. Drain your peas and carrots, remove your whiting pastry from the oven, plate and serve.

The whiting in the centre of the puff pastry is cooked to perfection
The whiting in the centre of the puff pastry is cooked to perfection

Whiting Fish Pie With Garlic Fried Beans and Sweetcorn

Really simple whiting fish pie with beans and sweetcorn
Really simple whiting fish pie with 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.

Cut your whiting fillet in half and lay it in the bottom of a pot or saucepan
Cut your whiting fillet in half and lay it in the bottom of a pot or saucepan
Cover the cooked whiting and allow it to cool
Cover the cooked whiting and allow it to cool
The cooked and cooled whiting fillet is broken in to pieces and laid in the bottom of a casserole dish with fresh dill
The cooked and cooled whiting fillet is broken in to pieces and laid in the bottom of a casserole dish with fresh dill
The bechamel sauce is poured to cover the whiting
The bechamel sauce is poured to cover the whiting
The potatoes are mashed with some of the remaining milk
The potatoes are mashed with some of the remaining milk
The cooled mashed potato is spread over the whiting and sauce
The cooled mashed potato is spread over the whiting and sauce
The green beans are fried in butter, garlic, sea salt and black pepper
The green beans are fried in butter, garlic, sea salt and black pepper

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. Cut your whiting fillet in half so that it will fit more easily in the pot.
  2. Lay it in the pot with the bay leaf, season with salt and pour in the milk. Cook over a high heat until the edges of the milk just begin to show a simmer.
  3. Reduce the heat to 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.
  4. 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 a very gentle heat.
  5. 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.
  6. Peel and chop the potatoes. Add them to cold, salted water and bring to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for around twenty minutes until soft.
  7. Drain through a colander, return to the pot and mash with 2 to 3 fl oz of the remaining milk.
  8. Add four more sprigs of dill, roughly torn, and stir. Cover and cool.
  9. 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.
  10. Add the remaining half ounce of butter to a small, non-stick frying pan. Gently melt. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to 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.
  11. Carefully plate the whiting pie with a slotted spoon and add the beans alongside. The sweetcorn should be spooned on last of all before the remaining dill is used as a final garnish prior to service.

The pie is browned under an overhead grill immediately prior to service
The pie is browned under an overhead grill immediately prior to service

Pan Fried Fillet of Whiting in Breadcrumbs With Real Chips

Fish and chips made with whiting
Fish and chips made with whiting

Fish and chips is 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

Method

Chips:

First, it is necessary to prepare the chips. This procedure is not absolutely necessary and you can of course 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.

  1. Peel the potato and slice and chop it in to chips, each slightly larger than a man's middle finger.
  2. Add to a pot of unsalted, cold water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to create a gentle simmer for five minutes and drain the chips through a colander.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 to cool.
  6. Place them back in the clean plastic dish and again refrigerate for half an hour. They will be given their second frying as the whiting is being cooked.

The parboiled chips are cooled and refrigerated in a plastic container
The parboiled chips are cooled and refrigerated in a plastic container

Fish:

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 in to a flat-bottomed bowl, season with salt and pepper and lightly beat with a fork.

  1. Add a little vegetable oil to a non-stick frying pan and put it on to reach a medium heat.
  2. Put your deep fryer on to preheat to 170C/350F to give the chips their second frying.
  3. 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 each side until the breadcrumbs are beautifully golden and the whiting is cooked.
  4. The chips should be fried for the second time for six or seven minutes until crisp and golden. Drain again on fresh kitchen paper.
  5. 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.

The whiting fillet is firstly coated in beaten egg and fresh breadcrumbs
The whiting fillet is firstly coated in beaten egg and fresh breadcrumbs
The breaded whiting fillet is shallow fried in vegetable oil
The breaded whiting fillet is shallow fried in vegetable oil
The pan fried whiting fillet is added to a plate
The pan fried whiting fillet is added to a plate

Are you a fan of whiting? Will you try it instead of cod?

3.9 stars from 14 ratings of the Whiting Recipes featured on this page

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.

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    • fortunerep profile image

      fortunerep 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Hub, never ate whiting, now i know how!

      dori

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, fortunerep. I hope that you'll give it a try now and very much enjoy it.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great hub! I love all of the variations.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thanks randomcreative. I hope you'll give something here a try.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Goodness! Each one of these dishes looks positively mouthwatering. I don't think I've ever had whiting before. Gosh... I'm probably going to have to go back to eating fish again, especially if you keep posting such amazing recipes!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Simone and thank you. Whiting is absolutely one of my favourite eating fish, so if you are going to dip your toe back in to the waters of piscatorial cuisine, I can thoroughly recommend it as an option! :)

    • profile image

      Max and Josi 5 years ago

      Hi Goedon,

      Opa made the fish filet in the puff pastry for us.

      Very good!. He used "Pangasius filet" which he says is a type of catfish found in abundance in the Mekong Delta but which is now farmed in Europe. Thanks for giving him the idea.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hello, Max and Josi!

      I am delighted that you enjoyed your meal. That sounds like a very special take on the recipe. Not sure it's a fish I would have access to!

      I was also hoping to have fish tonight, fresh off the hook - but I have just returned from my latest fishing trip empty-handed...

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      Gordon Hamilton: I hate it that they throw those dead whiting back into the North Sea! I'll take them, and my sister's Maine Coon kittycat Gusty would love, love, love to partake of them.

      Thank you for highlighting this fish and for selecting such tempting recipes with perfect photos!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hello, stessily. Yes, I hate it too and not just because they are such a tasty eating fish. It is nothing short of criminal, the procedures which the EU are forcing fisherman to carry out. Thanks for visitng and commenting.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 5 years ago

      Gordon Hamilton: What a clear, hunger-inducing, magnificent presentation on the preparation and serving of the delectable whiting! It is atrocious to hear of fish being caught and summarily tossed through no fault of the fish, the fisher or the fish-eater. It is welcome to follow your wonderful recipes through the precise directions which are backed up by illustrative photographs.

      Thank you, voted up, etc.,

      Derdriu

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Derdriu,

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment. The whiting truly is a wonderful eating fish and words really fail me as far as discard procedures go. Fingers crossed that those of us who care enough can make a difference for the future.

    • dressline profile image

      dressline 5 years ago from China

      nice, good post, you are a good cook .

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, dressline. I hope there is something here you will try.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Wow what a great hub. Lots of wonderful recipes. I love all the photos. Always looking for ways to make fish tasty and you sure did that. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 4 years ago from Yorkshire

      Gordon

      hi our paths have not crossed for awhile, I hope you are keeping well.

      As usual an informative and useful hub, filled with good ideas and delicious recipes. YOUR GREAT and easy to follow means anyone can at least make a start at cooking these dishes. In fact I've just tried your whitting in pastry and it was sensational. I don't often come across whitting, but I knew where to find a good recipe for it. Here of course on your hubs.

      Good hub, voted up and the buttons too.

      with respect

      Tony

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hello, Carol. Thank you and I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I hope you get a chance to try out some of these ideas and enjoy what you try.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Tony. Glad you enjoyed the whiting in the pastry - that's a big favourite of mine also. Hope to catch up soon. Thanks as always for visit and comment.

    • ptrg777 profile image

      Peter 4 years ago from New York

      Whiting is a great fish and very tasty. IN the pastry is interesting and will be giving it a try. Thanks and great hub.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi,ptrg. The whiting in the pastry was an idea based on salmon en croute. It worked just as well and I hope you agree if you try it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image

      Ccp 2 weeks ago

      Bought some yesterday and prepared it according to the directions on the bag. Mild and mushy. Not impressed.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 2 weeks ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      I'm not sure what you mean by the directions on the bag Ccp but if you have bought fish that has been processed in some way I can fully understand why it would be mushy. I hope you'll get hold of some fresh whiting some time and try one of the ideas featured on this page. It is a world of difference, I can assure you.

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