How to Cook Whiting and Whiting Recipes
Whiting is One of the Tastiest Eating Fish in Any Sea
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 is nothing short of a travesty that whiting is often hugely under-rated as an eating fish and particularly that it is a species which is adversely affected by the horrific discard process in the North Sea. 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.
So how good an eating fish is whiting? Truthfully, words like awesome, delicious, fabulous don’t even scratch the surface in describing the eating experience the humble whiting affords. A cousin of the Atlantic cod, whiting is similar in many ways to its desperately endangered and over-fished relative but it 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 not to 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 recipe ideas for whiting and includes in a links list near the bottom of the page access to plenty more delicious whiting recipes for you and your family to enjoy. 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
This recipe was very much an experiment and a slightly risky one in the sense 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 everything it was hoped it would be and more in the sense that 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)
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
Beaten egg for glazing
Add the potatoes to a pot followed by enough cold water to ensure they are comfortably 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.
Try to buy pre-rolled puff pastry. This will make your job a lot easier. 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 to the right. 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 in to discs of around a 1/4″. Simmer in boiling water for ten minutes. Add the frozen peas and simmer for a fruther 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 even coating. Drain your peas and carrots, remove your whiting pastry from the oven, plate and serve.
Show Your Support for Fish Sustainability
The issue of fish sustainability is not something which is going to go away. It should be important to all of us, whether we even eat fish or not. The environmental consequences of overfishing and eating endangered species of fish are bordering upon irreversible unless drastic and immediate action is taken. Take a browse round the online fish sustainability store linked to on the right – where you will find everything from clothes, to mugs, to clocks – and show the world your support for this most noble of causes.
Whiting Fish Pie with Garlic Fried Beans and Sweetcorn
(Note: You may find yourself with slightly more bechamel 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
2oz plain (all purpose) flour
2oz trimmed green beans
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp canned sweetcorn
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut your whiting fillet in half that it will fit more easily in to the pot. 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. 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.
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. Add 8 to 10 fl oz of the milk in stages to form a thick, smooth bechamel 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 twenty 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 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.
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.