This lemon baked whiting recipe is a delicious and easy sheet pan dinner recipe. Baked with a colourful medley of Mediterranean vegetables, this lemon whiting recipe can be served with baked or roasted potatoes or rice for a complete and satisfying meal bursting with delightful flavours.
Oven baked whiting
Whiting is a small fish with white flaky flesh with a lovely mild and delicate flavour. Most commonly known as ‘English whiting’ or merling it is a member of the cod family. Both fishes are similar in flavour but the whiting is somewhat cheaper. Due to its mild taste it doesn’t overpower the meal and perfectly complements the rest of the ingredients making it a great fish for a sheet pan meal.
It is also a great fish for making fish fingers, fish cakes, mousse or patés. It can be battered, fried, grilled, steamed or as in this recipe baked in the oven with vegetables and lemon.
Which ingredients to use
- Whiting: For this recipe it is best to buy fresh whiting fillets, preferably with skin as I have used. Alternatively you can use a fillet without skin. Ask your fish monger to prepare and debone the fish fillets.
- Red bell peppers: Use any colour bell pepper you like or you have at hand, or use a combo of colours. The red bell pepper is sweeter than the orange, yellow and green pepper, which is why I prefer this colour. It also adds a lovely bright colour to this oven baked fish recipe.
- Onion: A yellow onion is what gives most flavour.
- Zucchini: Use a zucchini with peel both for colour and extra fibre.
- Spring onion: Use both the green and white part of the spring onion. It will add colour and give a fresh and pungent taste.
- Lemon: Wash thoroughly and then finely slice the lemon for that nice zesty flavour on top of the whiting fish.
- Olive oil: Use a good quality olive oil for the vegetables in order to bring out the best flavour while roasting in the oven.
- Seasoning: Apart from pepper and salt, I used Mediterranean herbs like oregano and basil. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley and dill will also work great, according to personal preference.
- Chilli pepper (optional): I have used a relatively mild green pepper, with the seeds removed, for an extra bit of heat.
How to make oven baked whiting
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
As whiting is a rather thin fish, the cooking time is less than the vegetables. So we will first start roasting (or better, pre-roasting) the vegetables and when they are nearly done the fish will be added for the last 10 minutes of roasting. Just follow the below steps for the best oven baked whiting with roasted Mediterranean vegetables:
- Prepare the vegetables: Seed and dice the red bell peppers in 1-inch (or 2.5 cm) pieces. Chop the zucchini in equal 1-inch (or 2.5 cm) chunks and dice the onion. Finely slice the spring onions and the green chilli pepper.
- Coat the vegetables: Combine the onion, zucchini, red bell pepper and green chilli pepper in a mixing bowl, then season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Transfer the vegetables to a sheet pan or shallow oven tray. Make sure the vegetables are single layered to allow for equal roasting.
- Roast the vegetables: Place the sheet pan with the vegetables in a pre-heated oven at 400℉ or 200℃ and roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are nearly tender.
- Prepare the fish: Meanwhile, pat the whiting fillets dry with paper kitchen towel. Make a few shallow incisions in the skin of the whiting. Season with pepper and salt.
- Bake the fish: After 20 minutes (or when the vegetables are nearly tender), take the sheet pan with the vegetables from the oven. Place the whiting fillets on top of the vegetables and add a few thinly sliced lemon rounds on top of each fish fillet. Divide the spring onions over the sheet pan. Place the tray back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
- Check the fish: The fish is ready when it flakes easy when testing with a fork. Depending on the thickness of the fish, the fillets should be cooked after 10 to 15 minutes, but always test with a fork before serving.
- Garnish: Serve with fresh parsley or dill.
Can I use a different type of fish?
This oven baked fish recipe can be made with different types of fish. Any of the following fish fillets can be used:
- Cod fish
Just keep in mind that this recipe is specifically written for whiting fish with its specific flavour profile and cooking time. Using another type of fish might alter the taste and the cooking time can / will be different.
Can I use different vegetables?
Yes, of course. I have opted for Mediterranean style vegetables but this recipe can be made with a whole range of different vegetables. To stay with Mediterranean cuisine you can add eggplant or tomatoes to this dish.
Or consider roasting any of the following vegetables:
- Green beans
- Green asparagus
- Red onion
Can I make this dish in advance?
The fish should be eaten fresh after baking as it will still be flaky and juicy. If you bake the fish in advance and re-heat it later it will either dry out or become mushy from overcooking. What you could do is roast only the vegetables in advance until they are nearly tender then store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to make the final recipe, just add the pre-roasted vegetables to a sheet pan together with the uncooked whiting fillets and bake in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes and serve.
How to serve
Serve this sheet pan baked fish recipe with vegetables along with roasted potatoes. You can even roast them in the same oven in another oven dish or make foil parcels like in this recipe. This recipe also goes really well with cold potato salad, Greek lemon rice, or just plain rice to make a more complete meal.
More fish recipes to try
- Dogfish stew with fennel and tomatoes
- Pan fried trout with garlic butter
- Grilled calamari rings
- Smoked salmon tartare
- Mussels mariniere
- Smoked salmon with pineapple salsa
Lemon baked whiting with roasted vegetables
- 4 whiting fillets (4 ounces or 150 grams each fillet) with skin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers seeded and chopped into 1 inch (or 2.5cm) pieces
- 1 zucchini chopped into 1 inch (or 2.5cm) chunks
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 spring onion sliced
- 1 green chilli pepper thinly sliced
- 1 lemon finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400℉ or 200℃.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped onion, zucchini, bell pepper and green chili pepper. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat, then spread them in an even layer on the oven tray or sheet pan.
- Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast the vegetables for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pat the whiting fish fillets dry and cut a few shallow slits into the skin (if they come with skin). Season with salt and pepper.
- Carefully take the sheet pan with the partly roasted vegetables out of the oven. Place the fish fillets on top of the vegetables. Add a few thinly sliced lemon slices on top of the fish and sprinkle the sliced spring onions over the fish and vegetables.
- Place the sheet pan back in the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the fish is cooked. The total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish fillets. The fish is ready when it flakes easily when testing with a fork.
- Serve with chopped fresh parsley.
- Baking time: The total baking time of the fish will depend on the thickness of the fish fillets. Check first if the fish is cooked before taking it out of the oven and serving.
- Green chilli pepper: Optionally choose to use a mild or hot chilli according to personal preference, or you can omit the hot chilli completely.