A popular snack in New Zealand, whitebait are tiny fish that are eaten whole, bones and all. Don’t let this put you off if you’ve never tried them before. They are remarkably tender, fry up to be crisp, and are both delicious and irresistible. Not to mention they pair exceptionally well with another popular New Zealand delight: Sauvignon Blanc. Since seafood is so incredibly fresh in the land of the Kiwi’s, there’s no dipping sauce required for these fine fritters; just a squeeze of lemon as you don’t want to overwhelm the fresh flavor of the whitebait. While they are often eaten between slices of buttered bread in their homeland, a lighter option is to serve alongside a simple salad. Either way, you’re gonna love ’em!
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 15 minutes
4 eggs, beaten
⅔ cup milk
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound whitebait, well rinsed and patted dry
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 lemon wedge
Place the diced potato into a medium saucepan and pour in enough water to cover by two inches. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until potatoes are tender to the point of nearly falling apart. Drain into a colander and rinse well with cold water. Set aside to cool for five minutes.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and cooled potatoes until everything is a smooth consistency. Then add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Next, fold in the whitebait and chopped scallion.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and then add grapeseed oil. Using a tablespoon, scoop out spoonfuls of the whitebait mixture making small three-to-four-inch patties. In rounds, drop into the skillet and fry until golden brown, about three minutes per side. Place fritters on paper towels to drain, then serve hot with lemon wedges and a side salad. Enjoy!
Suggested Wine Pairing: Greenhough Sauvignon Blanc 2017*
*Inquire with one of these retailers
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated writer, cookbook author, humorist, chef/owner of the highly-acclaimed Robicelli’s Bakery, occasional TV personality, raconteur, wife, mother, and all-around good time.