Sand Whiting

Sillago ciliata

Sand Whiting
Species

Whitings

Description

Available wild-caught, it is a marine and estuarine fish which schools over sandy bottoms of open bays or estuaries (travelling as far up river as the tidal limit) and near ocean beaches along the length of the eastern coast, mainly at 10-30m.

It’s caught mostly off southern Queensland and NSW using beach seines, in estuaries using haul nets and gillnets, and sometimes as bycatch of inshore prawn and fish trawling. It looks similar to Yellowfin Whiting as both have bright yellow lower.

Other Names

Silver Whiting, Summer Whiting, Blue-nose Whiting, Sand Sillago.

Family

Sillaginidae (Whitings).

Season

Available year round with peaks from July to December.

Size and Weight

Averages 300g and 35cm, but can grow to 1.4kg and 55cm.

Price

Medium priced.

Relations

King George whiting, school 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 yellowish-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 40%. 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. A good plate-sized fish cooked whole. 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 Whiting.

Imports

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

Recipes

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

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