JOSHUA NILAND, HEAD CHEF, RESTAURATEUR – SAINT PETER, PADDINGTON SYDNEY
6 x 250g King George whiting, scaled and gilled (substitutes – herring, sand whiting or garfish)
1 cup plain flour
4 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups white panko breadcrumbs
400ml clarified butter
Salt flakes, to taste
Freshly ground white/black pepper, to taste
6 lemon cheeks
Assuming you’re right-handed (otherwise reverse these directions), place a fish on a chopping board with its head to your left and tail to your right. Using a filleting knife, cut down both sides of the collar and remove the head, pulling out the internal organs. Draw your knife down the backbone of the fish from the head to the tail, cutting along one side of the bone. Cut again to deepen the initial cut, carefully cutting all the way through to open up the fish, leaving the tail intact. Repeat on the other side of the backbone then, using kitchen scissors, snip out the backbone to give a kite-shaped fish fillet with the tail intact. Use fish tweezers to remove pin bones and rib bones, alternatively, depending on the species, it may be easier to remove rib-bones with a filleting knife.
Preheat oven to 100°C. Place flour in one bowl, egg in a second and breadcrumbs in a third. Holding it by the tail, dip one fish in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, pressing gently to coat it well. Place on a tray and repeat with remaining fish. Heat a third of the clarified butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add two fish to the pan and fry for approx 2min until crisp and golden, then turn and cook the other side for a further minute or so, until also crisp and golden. Place on an oven tray. Keep warm in the oven. Melt half of the remaining butter and use to cook two more fish. Place in oven and repeat with remaining butter and fish.
YOGHURT TARTARE SAUCE
Makes approx 2 cups
1½ cups natural yoghurt
3 large golden shallots, diced
3tsp small salted capers, rinsed and dried, finely chopped
⅓ cup cornichons, coarsely chopped
2tbs flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely sliced
Place all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine well. Set aside in fridge until needed.
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch dill
1 bunch chervil
1 bunch French tarragon
1 cup watercress leaves
1 cup wild rocket leaves
2 large butter lettuces, broken into bite-sized pieces
1tsp castor sugar
Sea salt, pinch
35g golden shallot, thinly sliced into rings
140ml extra virgin olive oil
50ml Chardonnay vinegar
Combine the sugar, salt and shallot. Set aside for 10min, then stir in oil and vinegar. Set aside. Combine parsley, dill, chervil, tarragon, watercress, rocket and lettuce. Toss with enough shallot dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Leftover shallot dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.
Sprinkle fish liberally with salt and pepper and place in the centre of large warmed serving plates. Serve with lemon cheeks, generous spoonfuls of yoghurt tartare sauce and herb salad on the side.