Fried Whitebait

Deep-frying is the perfect way to cook these tiny fish, which are eaten whole.

Recipe courtesy of "The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World" by Victoria Blashford-Snell, copyright 2008. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved.

Fried Whitebait

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    Ingredients

    vegetable oil, for deep-frying 1 tsp salt
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 lb (450 g) whitebait or smelt
    1 tsp cayenne pepper lemon wedges, to serve

    directions

    Prep: 15 min Total: 30 min (Quick)
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    • 1

      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.

    • 2

      Mix the flour, cayenne, and salt together in a large bowl.

    • 3

      Toss the whitebait in the seasoned flour, making sure they are evenly coated. Place in a large sieve and shake off the excess flour.

    • 4

      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.

    • 5

      Serve immediately, with the lemon wedges.

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