Recipe: Pan Fried Flathead with Broad Bean and Fennel Salad

You may or may not know it, but it’s currently flathead season, and here at Dawson’s we love our Dusky Flathead from Tuggerah Lake.

This recipe is from My Food Book.


  • 8 x 100g Australian Flathead fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • a knob of butter
  • sea salt 

Broad bean and fennel salad 

  • 500g frozen broad beans (aka faba beans), cooked and lightly crushed 
  • 2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup mint leaves 
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper 
  • fresh lemon wedges to serve 

Lemon yoghurt 

  • 1 ½ cups greek yoghurt 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mint leaves


  1. Kick things off by prepping the broad bean and fennel salad: add all the ingredients to a bowl, season, and toss to combine. Ta da, the salad’s done!
  2. To make the zesty lemon yoghurt: combine the ingredients in a bowl and give it a stir
  3. Pat the flatty fillets dry with absorbent paper, and heat a large non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. Toss in the olive oil and a knob of butter, wait for the butter to bubble, then add the fish, in batches, skin side down and cook for 4 minutes. Flip it and cook for another 1-2 minutes
  4. Place the flatty fillets on a plate, add some salad and a dollop of your lemon yoghurt.

Pan Fried Flathead

Dusky Flathead is the largest of the Australian flathead species and can be recognised by the patterns on the pectoral and caudal fins. It’s an ugly fish with a peculiar flat triangular head, eyes sitting on top and a gigantic mouth. It’s so ugly that fishermen often call them lizards or crocs, but don’t let their ugliness fool you. They are delicious.
They are bottom-dwelling marine fish and are mainly found inshore in estuaries and bays to depths of about 30m. They are opportunistic feeders that lay in the sand or mud waiting for their prey to pass by. Their diet consists of small fish, crustaceans and squid which gives them their characteristic slightly sweet flavour, with low oiliness and slightly dry, medium textured flesh with few bones.

Fresh Flathead fillets from Dawson's Oyster Supplies

Previously a by-catch, it is now one of the most popular table fish in Australia and is often used in premium fish and chip dishes in Aussie pubs and restaurants. Ideal steamed, poached, fried, baked, grilled or barbecued, they’re irresistible with a cold beer on the side.
In terms of nutrition, flathead has as much protein as meat but a lot less fat and all Australian white fish have been deemed as having enough omega 3 to be considered a good source of this essential nutrient.
We recently posted a reel on our IG page showing Jack processing the whole flathead we get in from Tacoma Co Op. We keep the bones in and skin on our flathead fillets sold in store as a way of keeping the cost down for our customers. We also think that the skin when cooked like it is in this recipe, is so tasty.   

Broad beans

This recipe doesn’t batter or crumb the fish fillets, making it a much healthier option. Coupled with this delicious salad featuring broad beans and fennel, it’s not only light, healthy and nutritious, but extremely quick and easy to prepare – ideal for a weeknight dinner.
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