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Garfish with White Bean Salad (Imsell Mixwi with Fazola Salad)


We’re always quizzing our Art Director Annie Portelli on her culinary escapades, and her mum Carmen is often the star of the story. According to Annie, Carmen cooks purely, generously and always stresses that her best creations are those ‘made with love’.

It’s no wonder Annie and her siblings head home to share a meal each weekend. ‘Where else can you witness the pickling of vegetables, preserving of tuna, olives and salami, eating your very own honey or freshly churned prickly pear ice cream? There’s always something to do, something to learn and, of course, something to eat!’ Annie tells.

With that idyllic picture percolating in mind, we’re chuffed to be sharing another of Annie and Carmen’s family favourites today: Garfish with White Bean Salad, or as they call it in Maltese-glish, Imsell Mixwi with Fazola Salad.

20th June, 2017


The spread of super-photogenic ingredients on Annie’s AMAZING terrazzo bench top (which she made herself!). Ceramic bowl with onion, made by Annie. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Natalie Turnbull.

Serving for one

Garfish with White Bean Salad (Imsell Mixwi with Fazola Salad) for one! Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Natalie Turnbull.

Maltese Masterchefs

Our Art Director Annie Portelli and her mum Carmen. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Natalie Turnbull.

Garfish with White Bean Salad

Garfish with White Bean Salad, or as it’s known to the Portelli’s, Imsell Mixwi with Fazola Salad. Ceramic salad bowl made by Annie. Serving plate by Valerie Restarick at North Carlton Ceramics,  sauce dish by Mud Australia, spoon is one of many gems Annie found in Japan. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Natalie Turnbull.

Annie and Carmen Portelli
Tuesday 20th June 2017

It’s no surprise that the tiny country of Malta relies on the vast array of seafood caught off its coastline for most of its recipes. Imsell Mixwi with Fazola Saladis is also really common in Gozo, the beautiful, but even smaller sister island of Malta, from where my Dad, Peter, hails.

This dish heroes the sweet tasting, pointy-nosed garfish, and is often accompanied with a simply dressed salad, picked from the garden, or the Maltese crowd-pleaser, Fazola aka white bean salad (as is the case here). This recipe can be prepared with any kind of white, light tasting fish such as whiting, barramundi or flat head.


For the garfish

  • garfish (scaled and gutted)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • fresh parsley
  • good quality olive oil
  • hazelnut meal

For the fazola salad

  • 400g of butter beans
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 10 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 10 springs of fresh mint
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the herb sauce

  • parsley
  • mint
  • basil
  • oregano
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper taste


Soak butter beans overnight by submerging them in a bowl of water.

The next day, rinse butter beans and place in saucepan and cover with fresh water. Once it starts to boil, turn flame down and allow to gently simmer until the beans are soft. Keep and eye on them as they will dry out if you’re not careful. Be sure to top up the water if the beans start to look dehydrated to prevent them from splitting. When they’re soft and ready, drain and rinse with cold water before adding the olive oil, vinegar, finely chopped onion, garlic and herbs. Then finish with some salt and pepper and pop in the fridge to cool!

For the garfish, start by cleaning and scaling (leaving the heads) with a single slice down the base of the fish to allow the crumbing to cover all surfaces for extra flavour! On a large flat plate, prepare your crumbing by simply adding some salt and pepper to your hazelnut meal.

Use a non-stick shallow pan to heat the oil with a couple of bruised garlic cloves. Once the oil is hot, and the garfish are lightly crumbed, lightly brown and cook the fish on both sides. It till take about 4 mins each side to get it perfect! Once they’re ready, place them on some kitchen towel to rest.

Blended all ingredients for the herb sauce together in a food processor (or finely chop).

Plate the garfish with a side of bean salad and add herb sauce as desired.

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