Whitebait are small, young fish which are a seasonal delicacy in New Zealand. There are five native species prized for their tenderness and flavor.
In this recipe I used Australian whitebait which are larger than their Kiwi counterparts.
I lightly dusted the whitebait in flour and then fried them for a few seconds. The small, crunchy fish are served with an easy aioli of egg mayonnaise, cilantro (corinader), garlic and lemon juice.
Fried whitebait are particularly delicious washed down with a cold glass of beer.
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 400 grams of whitebait
- 2 cups of vegetable oil for frying
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp of finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
- Juice from 1/4 lemon
- 1 cup of egg mayonnaise
- Prepare the aioli by combining the garlic, cilantro, mayonnaise and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir well to combine then cover and set aside until serving time.
- Rinse whitebait under cold, running water and gently pat dry with paper towels.
- Place flour and sea salt in a bowl and mix well.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan until surface begins to shimmer. Test to see if the oil is ready by dropping a pinch of flour into it. The flour should fry immediately.
- Toss fish in seasoned flour, ensuring they are well coated. Remove and shake off excess flour, then deep-fry in batches for 40 seconds or until crisp and golden.
- Serve whitebait with a sprinkle of sea salt and aioli.