Deep-frying is the perfect way to cook these tiny fish, which are eaten whole. Good with chilled potato salad.
Preparation Time - Text1
Cooking Time20 min
Cooking Time - Text20
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, hot appetizer, tapas/small plates
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecrunchy, hot & spicy, salty
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb (450g) whitebait or smelt
- Lemon wedges, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Pour enough oil to come halfway up the sides of a large deep saucepan. Heat the oil over high heat until 350°F (180°C) on a deep-frying thermometer.
Mix the flour, cayenne, and salt together in a large bowl.
Toss the whitebait in the seasoned flour, making sure they are evenly coated. Place in a large sieve and shake off the excess flour.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In three batches, deep-fry the whitebait for 2–3 minutes, until they turn lightly golden. Transfer to the paper towels and keep warm in the oven until all the fish are fried.
Serve immediately, with the lemon wedges.
Frying the whitebait in small batches will prevent them from clumping together and turning soggy.
2008 Dorling Kindersley