• Whiting salad (Simon & Schuster / Dragan Radocaj)Source: Simon & Schuster / Dragan Radocaj

The salad is a wonderful accompaniment to the simply cooked fish, but it could easily be made into a stand-alone dish for lunch with some fresh ricotta.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (8 votes)

With the exception of keen anglers who can catch their own, most of us have to buy our fish. Whiting is such a delicate and delicious fish so do buy it when you see it! All it needs is a quick fry in butter, with a bit of salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and perhaps a sprinkling of parsley. You could serve it with some purple potatoes made into chips just think of that colour!

I love this style of cooking. It’s just about pulling ideas together and combining great flavours with a minimum of fuss.


  • 4 x 160–180 g skinless whiting fillets, bones removed
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Celery and pomegranate salad

  • 80 g green lentils
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, tough outer leaves removed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 large sticks celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ small Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds removed
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the salad, rinse the lentils, then place in a saucepan with 4 times the amount of cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well and spread out on a tray so they don’t continue to cook. Place in a bowl and drizzle with a little of the olive oil. About 10 minutes before serving, using a mandolin, thinly slice the fennel into a bowl. Toss through the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice and stand for 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the celery, cucumber, parsley, pomegranate seeds and lentils and toss to combine well. Season to taste.

Heat 2 large frying pans over high heat so you don’t overcrowd the pan and ‘poach’ the fish rather than pan-fry it (see Note). Season the fish, add a drizzle of olive oil to both pans and, when hot, add 2 fillets to each pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, then divide the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley between the pans. Shake to gently combine, then serve immediately with the salad.


• If you don’t have 2 large frying pans that can fit comfortably on your stove top, preheat the oven to 150˚C (fan-forced) and keep half the cooked fish warm (covered loosely with foil) while you cook the remaining fillets, but be careful not to overcook it.

• Whiting is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, it also provides selenium, and vitamins B3, B6 and B12. 


Recipe from Maggie’s Recipe for Life by Maggie Beer with Professor Ralph Martins (Simon & Schuster Australia, pb, $39.99). Photography © Dragan Radocaj. Read our chat with Maggie about eating for better brain health here.