Crispy Whitebait “Fries”

Whitebait are very small fish also called spearing. They are about 2 to 3 inches long and require no cleaning of any kind. Look for them in the spring.

Serves: 2Hands-on: 10 minutesTotal: 30 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 2


  • 2 cups peanut oil
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. whitebait, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed into a paste
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice


  • Heat oil in a large pot to 375°F. Place flour in one bowl, egg in another, and breadcrumbs in a third.
  • Season the fish with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish very thoroughly in the flour and shake off any excess flour. Move to the egg and then the breadcrumbs.
  • Fry the fish in 3 batches. (This keeps the oil from cooling down too much.) When the fish are golden and float to the surface, they are done (about 1 minute). Drain on paper towels.
  • Mix together the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice. Serve dip with the fish.