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

  • The fisherman’s co-op is your one stop shop for both a tasty seafood lunch and to purchase fresh seafood for dinner. Highly recommended the fisherman’s basket for two, it was easily enough to fill both our bellies. We then purchased a fresh kilo of prawns to take home.

    “Seafood lunch and fresh fish takeaway”

    via Trip Advisor
  • Our family of 4 tucked into one of the better fish n chips we have had for a long time. Nice crisp batter (not soggy, oily, or smoothed). We had a selection trawler whiting, flake, calamari, sea scallops, potato scallops, and chips all beautifully cooked, and with great taste of the seafood

    “Delicious ”

    via Trip Advisor
  • A good array of locally caught wet fish and a superb take away with outside covered seating. Was recommended to us as the best fish and chips in town and we would agree.

    “Great fish and chips” – Visited March 2017

    via Trip Advisor
  • Best fish & chips we ever had. The Dinner Pack was just huge for two, but you just can’t stop eating! Lovely and crisp chips, and the fish was exceptional. Only draw-back was the very small decking outside, which was too crowded and hard to find a vacant table. Unless of course you take your fish & chips and eat them somewhere else. Everything was as fresh as seafood should be. Straight off the boat! Next time we’ll try the mixed seafood.

    “The Spot For Fresh Seafood”

    via Trip Advisor
 

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