Lemon Caper Flathead – Julie Goodwin Recipe
Lemon Caper Flathead – Julie Goodwin Recipe

Lemon Caper Flathead – Julie Goodwin Recipe

This delicious salad is a Julie Goodwin remake. I always love lemon and capers with my seafood so I had to give the recipe a try.  However since I find it almost impossible to stick to an original recipe I will also provide a link to Julie’s version of this dish at the end of the story.

Julie Goodwin Lemon Caper Flathead

Lemon Caper Flathead

The main differences are in the salad and the fish… lol, okay… so the truth is I just kept the Lemon Caper Sauce…

For this recipe I used the very end pieces of Flathead tails, but you could use boneless whiting fillets.

Julie Goodwin Lemon Caper Salad

Healthy Flathead & Lemon Salad

You may ask how I came across such a large quantity of Flathead tails.  The answer is big son number 2 (1 of 5) decided he wanted to give his mate a hand on a fishing trawler. His mate is a fairly sensible kid, and his dad owns the trawler so I agreed to the night fishing, even though it was on a school night!

Recipe for panfried flathead

Julie Goodwins Lemon Caper Flathead Salad

For all the mums out there I am sure you can understand the anxiety I felt knowing that my son was going to sea overnight, and probably wouldn’t even be home when I woke up. Especially given that the same friend currently has a major rope burn/laceration marks all down one arm where he got his arm tangled in a rope as a shark hooked on!! That friend nearly went swimming with said shark.  By the look of his arm he was also pretty lucky to still have it attached to his body.

Healthy Flathead recipe

Lemon Flathead w Homemade Tartare Sauce

I am slowly learning that as the children grow there is a letting go process that needs to happen to keep the household equilibrium.

There are even times when I would really like him to leave home …immediately.

When I have these moments I remember a conversation I had years ago with a much wiser mum. I was at work heavily pregnant with number 2, this mum was in her office having a heated argument on the phone with her teenage daughter.  When she got off the phone she said “I can’t wait until she leaves home!” This shocked me, “how can you say that?” “Won’t you worry?” I asked.  I am sure she thought I was so naive!

Julie Goodwin Flathead recipe

Instagram Flathead Image. Served w homemade fries.

She smiled and explained that nature has this wonderful way of making sure mums don’t hold onto their children forever. It is called the teenage years… nature gives the kids a big burst of hormones so that your cute and cuddly little one is no more, and you have an argumentative, exhausting beast that you are happy to see fly free of the nest.

So many times I have thought back to that day… There was one time in particular I wanted to leave the same son at a bus stop in Far Far North Queensland and see if he could find his own way home! Then other times, it’s when I know I need to not smother him and let him do something which is scary for me, but a good opportunity for him.

So in this instance I simply  requested that he bring back some fish for me, and stay safe… he did both.


  • 30 small Flathead tails (boneless) or Whiting Fillets
  • 1 Cup Plain flour
  • 2 t/s salt
  • 1 t/s white pepper
  • 3 t/s garlic powder
  • 3 t/s onion powder
  • 50g butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juice only)
  • 2 Tbs Capers
  • 20gm butter


  • Mixed salad leaves
  • 2 Lebanese Cucumbers
  • ½ Red Onion finely sliced
  • 1 Avocado sliced
  • 1 Lemons Lemon (cut into wedges)


  • 1 Lemon (Juice)
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


Salad & Dressing

Place salad leaves on individual serving plates.

Add the cucumber, avocado, red onion and lemon wedges to the plates

Add the dressing ingredients to a jar and shake well. Reserve for dressing the salad.

Salad Leaves ready for dressing

Simple Salad Greens

Lemon Caper Fish Fillets

In a zip lock sandwich bag place the flour and all the seasoning ingredients. Seal and shake until combined.

Flathead Fillets

Flathead Tail Fillets

Add about three fish fillets to the seasoning mixture and shake the zip lock bag gently until the fish is coated. Reserve the seasoned fillets on a plate for frying.  Continue this process until all the fillets have been coated in the seasoned flour.

Season Flathead Fillets

Seasoned Flathead Tail Fillets

TIP:  Once all the fish are coated seal the zip lock bag and place in the freezer for next time.
Burnt Butter sauce

Cooking Flathead in butter

Heat a frying pan on a medium heat with the 50g of butter and the tablespoon of olive oil until the butter is frothing.

Fry the fillets for around 2 minutes, or until they are a golden brown colour. Turn and fry for a further 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on absorbent paper.

Image Golden Fried Flathead

Golden Fried Flathead

Add the capers to the butter used to cook the fish. Whisk in the lemon juice and another 20gm butter, season with salt if necessary, but taste first because capers can be salty.

Serve the fish on the salad with a spoonful of the caper sauce over the fish pieces.

The salad dressing can be placed on the table and used as needed.  I also like to serve the salad with a healthy homemade tartare sauce, it is healthy because it is made with yoghurt and no oil.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and my story.

Do you find it strange that the words Smother and Mother are so similar…

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About Julie


  1. Yummy great story too.

  2. Pictures look amazing and the story made me tingle 🙂

  3. What a yummy recipe, I love capers they are perfect with fish! I’m glad Son came home safe and sound- it’s a tough job being a mother 🙂 On several occasions I have offered to pack my MiddleC’s bags for her, but so far she’s still here!

  4. That looks so good! I haven’t had fish in quite awhile I need to change that. Your pictures are wonderful too. I only have one son and yes, there were times I could have left him places too. Now, that he is married and on his own, I still worry just as much! He has a great wife and a new son of their own but, he still worries me telling me some of the stories he relays…ha!! That’s wonderful that your son had that opportunity and brought you fish! And smother and mother had me laughing, I have never thought of that before!!

  5. Your salad sounds delicious. Since we don’t have the same fish in our area I think I would probably use flounder in the recipe.

  6. LOL about Mother and Smother…it’s so true. You never stop being a mom 🙂 Your salad looks spectacular…I love absolutely everything about it! Such a yummy combination of ingredients!

  7. Love the story. It is hard being a mom and letting go and let them just do their thing. It is our job to worry. Love the little salad with the lemon and caper dressing. Perfect for a light weekend meal. Take care, BAM

  8. I LOVED the line about having teenagers is what allows mothers and dads to let go. 🙂 This all looks really good and aren’t Julie’s recipes good?

  9. I bet he appreciated that you let him go! I told my husband the same thing about teens…the teen years are so we don’t want to hold on to them forever and a day, so as frustrating as they can be, they’re good for both us and them. My oldest is grown, married and has his first child on the way (took me forever to stop missing him home, but it’s a new thing now, where he’s got his own family and I love that!). My second oldest just left at the end of last summer, and though there were times I wanted him to go, I miss that boy every single day. 🙂

    Your recipe share is a good one!

  10. I’ve never heard of Flathead tails and wonder if it’s something I can purchase here. The salad sounds really good and light — perfect for a sunny day dinner. Great recipe Julie!

  11. Great story and a gorgeous, healthy recipe!
    Love the combination of flavors and the pretty pictures 🙂

  12. Haven’t any children of my own but my younger sister pretty much fits the description of hormonal, argumentative exhausting beast. It’s great that I’m independent and old enough to fly free and so can put distance between us whenever she becomes a downright pain – I love that you cooked with what your boy trawled!

  13. Ohhh what a lovely remake of of the salad and it looks super yum! My dad use to go fishing a lot and bring home lots of flatheads never thought they can be used to make such an amazing looking and healthy salad 🙂

    Awww I’m sure a lot of parents with teenage kids go through what you are now, sometimes you know you have to let go of your kids but then other days you just want to hold on to them and that they would stay babies forever 😉 Don’t worry even though it’s a bit of a struggle at the end of the day they’re still your precious ones and they’ll come home to you ~ xox

    • What a gorgeous comment Daisy… You are such a sweetie, it bought tears to my eyes… Ty is already such a man :/ I don’t know when it happened???

  14. I absolutely adore fish but must admit that I don’t cook very much with it at home. Love this delicious looking recipe – I will have to make an effort to buy some good fish and make it at home 🙂

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