Roasted King George Whiting by Blayne Bertoncello
King George whiting are an iconic Australian table fish, caught throughout southern Australian waters. They are prized for their delicate flesh and easy-to-cook nature.
Major fisheries exist in SA (where they are mostly caught using handlines) and Victoria (where they are mostly caught by haul nets), and smaller catches are taken from WA, where they are caught in haul and gillnets. Usually operating from small boats in inlets, gulfs and inshore coastal waters, the fishing methods used pose relatively low risk to other at-risk species or seafloor habitats.
King George whiting numbers are known to fluctuate naturally over time, but are currently in a healthy condition. The Victorian fishery is especially notable as surveys are performed to count juvenile fish in seagrass nursery habitats on a yearly basis. This information is used with great success to inform what sustainable catch levels should be in a few years’ time, when these fish have reached a harvestable table size.
Roasted whiting, Jerusalem artichokes, wild pine mushrooms and garden leaves
By Blayne Bertoncello
Time: 40 mins
- 8 fillets of King George whiting (scaled/gutted and filleted)
- 1-2 native Australian fingerlime (lemon slices as substitute)
- A handful of mixed herbs- chive, sage, rosemary etc
- 500ml olive oil
- 1kg Jerusalem artichoke
- 500g mushrooms cut into rough chunks (Pine mushrooms are great in the Autumn when they are in season)
- Fresh salad leaves (a mix of whatever you have available)
- 300g butter
- 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 20ml lemon juice
- 50g shallot
- 200ml white wine vinegar
- Sugar (or simple syrup)
- Sea salt flakes
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
After the fish has been scaled/filleted and gutted, place fillets skin side down and hold the tail end of the fish while you make a small cut at the tail, press your knife against the skin and run it along the fillet away from you to remove the flesh from the skin.
Place some foil on the bench, then baking paper down on top. Arrange the whiting in the centre.
Chop the mixed herbs and place over the fish, drizzle some oilive oil and salt. Sprinkle some fingerlime over as well (or place the lemon slices). Then wrap in to reasonably tight parcel ready to bake.
Sort Jerusalem artichokes into bigs and smalls. Peel the larger ones and place in small saucepan with 100g butter and cook on a low heat while stirring for 10-15 mins until tender, then add the chicken stock and some salt. Cook on medium heat for a further 5 mins then blend in food processer to a smooth puree. Return it to your pot and set aside.
Place the fish in the oven for 15 mins.
At the same time as the fish going in the oven, melt the rest of the butter with 300 ml olive oil in a pan on med/low heat, once foaming add the smaller artichokes and mushrooms and slowly baste them for 15-20 mins until soft on inside and crunchy on outside.
Once they are cooked, season with some lemon juice and sea salt.
To make the shallot dressing simply peel the shallots, chop them roughly and place them into a food processor with the white wine vinegar, 200ml olive oil, a pinch of sugar and some sea salt. Blitz on high and season with more sugar and salt to taste
Unwrap the cooked fish, arrange on the plate with whole cooked artichokes and mushrooms. Heat up the artichoke puree and spoon it over. Arrange whatever fresh salad leaves you have over the fish and finish with shallot dressing.
See Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, a free app available on IOS and Android, to help you decide when next you are choosing to buy seafood.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s GoodFish project is a community of chefs, restaurants, fishers and wholesalers who work towards supporting healthier oceans.