Let’s imagine a hot summer day… a really cold beer… and a plate of crispy fried whitebait! How does it sound? Nice, no? Well, this is one of our favourite scenarios that takes place in our back yard. It’s really nice to seat under the umbrella, put the TV on and nibble on some crispy fried whitebait with a refreshing beer or glass of white wine.
Whitebait is an old English term for little tiny fish, dusted in flour and fried crispy. It’s largely popular in the UK since the 1700s when it was fashionable to dine on whitebait. But it’s also a popular dish around the Mediterranean like in Italy and in the Pacific like Australia and New Zealand.
There are several laws around whitebait mainly because it consists of immature fry of many important food species (such as herring, sprat, sardines, mackerel, bass and many others) and it is not an ecologically viable foodstuff.
But crispy fried whitebait was not new to me when I arrived to the UK. Back in Portugal we have a very similar delicacy. Maybe it’s not as small as the whitebait we find in the UK and for that reason we make a meal out of it instead of just a snack. But it is still as good!
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