These little fish are unbelievably tasty! They can be served as a main dish, or as an appetizer, or ‘meze’ that is a bite to accompany a glass or two of ouzo or wine. Whitebait are very small fish, no bigger than your little finger, and although frying seems to be a sinful word, it is the only way you can cook them. You use a little oil and you fry for two to three minutes. If the whitebait are very small, you can just eat them whole, head and bones included! The best way to eat them is by the seaside on a Greek island!
Ingredients 1 kilo whitebait Salt Flour Oil for frying Lemon halves
Cleaning the whitebait is a time consuming job, but it is really worth your while. Scrape off the scales, open the belly and pull out the guts. If the whitebait are very small it is not necessary to go to all this trouble. It is up to you.
Wash them and place them in a colander to drain for a while. Put them in a platter, or even better in a plastic bag. Sprinkle some salt over them and shake the bag so that it is distributed evenly. Then add a few tablespoonfuls of flour and shake the bag once more so that all the fish are lightly covered with flour.
Put some oil in a pan and when it is hot, add a handful of fish. Don’t use a very large pan, so that you can check the whitebait as it can burn. Lower the heat so they can cook inside without burning. Depending on the size of the whitebait, you need 1 – 2 minutes on one side, turn them over and fry them for another minute. When done, remove them from the pan and place them on absorbent paper. If required, add a little oil before placing the second handful, and so on, until you have cooked all the fish.
Serve them with lemon halves, a large salad, french fries or potatoes baked in the oven, and feta cheese!