Whitebait

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 10 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 5 min
  • Yield: serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter
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Ingredients

Vegetable oil, for frying

18 ounces whitebait

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh curly parsley

Maldon or other sea salt

Lemon wedges, for plating

Directions

  1. Heat the oil for frying in a deep-fat fryer to about 375 degrees F.
  2. Put the whitebait and the seasoned flour into a plastic bag, and toss everything around to coat the fish.
  3. Shake the excess flour by turning out the whole bag into a metal sieve, and then plunge the little fishes into the oil. Cook for about 3 minutes or until they look crispy and tempting - though I can see that for a squeamish generation, the idea of eating baby fish, whole, might not tempt. How wrong they are, if that's the case.
  4. Turn them out onto paper towels, and while the fish are losing any excess oil (we want desirable crunch) throw in a small handful of parsley leaves to deep-fry; watch out, it will spit. (A splatter guard is useful. Not charming, but useful.) When they have turned a very dark green, drain and serve with the whitebait, well sprinkled with sea salt and surrounded with lemon wedges.