Handling King George Whiting
King George Whiting - Sillaginodes punctata
Region of Origin
Found in the intertidal seagrass areas throughout the Eyre Peninsula, especially in the shallow, estuarine areas of the inlets and bays.
Good – they are a fast growing, frequently spawning fish, which combined with the artisan harvest methods (predominantly hook and line) and strict fishery management systems in place, make it a sustainable fishery.
Most King George Whiting taken on handlines are caught during the day, indicating that they are visual feeders. Their mouths are relatively small and are adapted to sucking up such bottom organisms as polychaete worms, bivalve molluscs (cockles) and small crustaceans, accounting for their succulent, sweet flesh.
The King George Whiting is caught mainly by single fisherman via hook and line and small seine netting operations.
Caught year round, peak catches are caught in winter June to September, although the largest fish are caught from November to February. Size Winter – 145g-1.5kg (31cm-60cm) Summer – 145g-2kg (31cm-70cm)
Methods to market
King George Whiting is mostly sent to market in a whole round form, fresh, where processors mostly fillet (sometimes butterfly fillet, where the two sides are attached at the collar) the fish, leaving the collar on and pin bone in. As much of the catch occurs in winter, it is common for the fillet to be packed in 1, 1.5 or 2kg blocks, fresh or frozen.
Handling and storage
King George Whiting has a delicate flesh and contact with water should be avoided at all times. Whole fish should be gutted, scaled and wrapped tightly in freezer liner. Fillets should be similarly dried before wrapping tightly and placing on a rack over ice, in a sealed container to avoid absorption of any flavours or aromas.
Fresh v frozen
The ultimate experience is fresh whiting. In particular the clean, fresh iodine zing it is renowned for is more pronounced, however, the processing industry has been established for a long time and is well geared to same day processing and freezing, delivering a high quality frozen fillet. Frozen fillets should be thawed in a cool room, over a drip tray in a sealed container.
The flesh colour of the raw King George Whiting is a translucent grey/white, sometimes with a slight yellow bloom. The cooked flesh is brilliant pearl white, sometimes with delicate dark veins through the flesh.
The King George Whiting has fine rib bones and pin bones, which are frequent through the upper body but are easily removed.
Flesh Fat Content
Winter – relatively low Summer – relatively low
Mild, delicate and sweet, with a unique iodine burst of flavour on the back palate. When cooked, the aroma is piquant and savoury and the flavour is rich and mouth filling with an almost hazelnut sweetness and depth.
Soft to medium –can retain a firmness when raw but softens on cooking.
Medium – skin-on boneless fillet approximately 45% net yield.
The King George Whiting is a unique Australian fish experience. Its incredibly sweet flavour and firm, moist flesh give it Dover Sole characteristics. Delicious cooked on the bone, it is more commonly found as a skin-on boneless fillet which is ideally suited to simple preparations using plenty of moisture and medium heat – pan frying, poaching, steaming, deep frying, roasting are especially good with this fish.
1. Check King George
Whiting for quality –
clear, protruding eyes;
bright red gills; a fresh
2. Scale the fish by running
3. To gut Fish, run knife from
4. Cut gills from base of
5. Using a pair of kitchen
6. To store whole fish, place
7. Fish should be stored at1-3°C
8. Remove the rib cage
9. Remove the central