Product of the Week – Eastern School Whiting

School Whiting

Sillago flindersi (Eastern School Whiting) 
Sillago bassensis (Southern School Whiting) 
Sillago robusta (Stout Whiting)

Other names:

Silver whiting, school whiting, bass whiting (Western School); redspot whiting, silver whiting, trawl whiting.

Family:

Sillaginidae (whitings).

Description:

School Whiting is the marketing name for 3 regional species distinguished by a silvery white stripe along the middle of their sides. Available wild-caught, they are marine fish found from Bowen (Queensland) south to Shark Bay (WA), including Tasmania, schooling close to sandy bottoms, usually from 0-70m, with juveniles in estuaries or close to the coast. Eastern (distinguished by a row of rusty brown spots on the upper side) occurs from Noosa (Queensland) south to Port Lincoln (SA). Southern occurs from Western Port (Victoria) along the southern coast to Geraldton (WA). Stout (distinguished by a yellow blotch between the eye and pectoral fin) occurs on the western coast from Fremantle to at least Shark Bay, and on the eastern coast from Bowen (Queensland) to Newcastle (NSW), and in NT. School Whiting are mainly caught in eastern Bass Strait by Danish seines, as well as with otter trawls off Queensland, NSW and WA and, in smaller quantities, off Victoria and Tasmania. A lot of the catch is frozen whole and exported. They are endemic to Australia.

Season:

Available year round.

Size and Weight:

Commonly to 200g and 28cm, but can grow to 600g and 40cm, with Western being the largest and Eastern (rarely over 25cm), the smallest.

Price:

Low-medium priced.

Relations:

Western School Whiting (Sillago vittata, a fourth School Whiting, found off the central to southern WA coast and of little commercial value), King George Whiting, Sand Whiting, Trumpeter Whiting, Yellowfin Whiting and the other 20 or so species of Whiting (Sillaginidae) distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Blue Weed Whiting (Haletta semifasciata) is a Wrasse, not a Whiting. In the northern hemisphere the name ‘whiting’ is also applied to various unrelated species, including Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) and English whiting (Merlangius merlangus).

To Buy:

Sold whole (gilled and gutted), as trunks (headless), and in single and butterflied fillets. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish is scaled, gilled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap whole fish and fillets in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 30%. Has a delicate, sweet flavour, low oiliness and moist, medium-textured, flaky flesh with fine bones, which are easily removed. The edible skin can be left on and the bones make excellent stock.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, raw (sashimi). Thin fillets are best wrapped in foil or banana leaves to protect them when barbecuing or grilling. Flesh has good gelling characteristics and works well in mousseline.

Goes well with:

Almonds, asparagus, beer-batter, butter, capers, citrus, eggs, garlic, herbs (chervil, chives, dill, parsley, French tarragon), wine, verjuice.

Alternatives:

Dory, Flathead, Flounder, Garfish, other Whitings.

Imports:

None. Southern Blue Whiting, imported from New Zealand, and North Sea Whiting, imported from Europe, are not related to Whitings of the Sillaginidae family.

Recipes:

Steamed School Whiting with Asparagus & Sauce Gribiche >
Pan-Fried King George Whiting Fillets with Mushrooms & Asparagus > 
Crumbed Pan-Fried King George Whiting with Baked Chips > 
Whiting Quenelles with Sorrel Sauce >  
Bouillabaisse >

Post credit | Sydney Fish Market

  • Stopped by the Fishermen’s Co-op just before the lunchtime crowd and the snapper was excellent. The crumbing was light and the oil fresh. In fact all the fish there looked great. The calamari was fresh and actually squid rings not mashed together to look like a ring. It got very busy quickly after I arrived and seating outside on the covered deck is limited so get in early or takeaway to the beach close by.

    “A great feed of fish and chips” – Visited January 2017

    via Trip Advisor
  • My wife and I ordered grilled swordfish. It took some time until it was done, but then we each got a nicely grilled piece about the size of a T Bone steak. Our daughter liked the salad. It might not be the place for a formal dinner but if you are hungry for fish at a reasonable price it’s certainly worth going there.

    “Excellent fish”

    via Trip Advisor
  • We came to buy a selection of fish and seafood for a BBQ later that day. The choice was first class, and the service good. The fish was very fresh, and we enjoyed the snapper cutlets, the marlin steak and the prawns. Delicious!

    “Excellent fish shop” – Visited February 2017

    via Trip Advisor
  • Service at the Co-Op is friendly and helpful and the fish is MAGNIFICENTLY FRESH. If you have a special occasion coming up, the cooked lobster is absolutely delicious.

    “LOVE THE CO-OP” – Visited March 2017

    via Trip Advisor
 

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