Spring is whitebait season here in New Zealand and as a North Island girl, whitebait has always been a slightly unattainable delicacy. So imagine my delight when The Koala’s parents visited from the South Island with a precious cargo of whitebait for me as an early birthday present.
Having never done anything with whitebait before, I thought whitebait fritters was the best dish to cut my whitebait teeth on. Known in New Zealand (particularly the South Island) to be a casual seasonal treat, served with lashings of butter on soft white bread this simple dish is a delicacy us North Island folk can only dream of.
Fresh whitebait is best (if you can get it), I froze mine so that I could take some time to think about what to do with it. Thaw whitebait in the fridge overnight and make sure you drain it well before working with it.
Fritters served with lemon, asparagus and a pale ale, this is a spring time lunch fit for kings and queens. Dig in with your hands or use a fork if you’re trying to impress. My forks were only for show. We’ve been loving Moa Session Pale Ale with it’s bitter and fruit notes taste like summer. A great match with these fritters.
This recipe is adapted from the submission by The Kerr Family to The Great New Zealand Cookbook (the book was also a gift from The Koala’s side of the family).
Whitebait fritters with asparagus
A light lunch for two
For the whitebait fritters:
- 250 grams whitebait
- 1 egg, beaten
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lemon
- Thaw frozen whitebait overnight in the fridge. Drain away the liquid and set aside the whitebait.
- Take a medium size bowl and add the beaten egg, whitebait and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Melt a knob of butter and spoon whitebait mixture onto the pan to form smallish fritters (2 tablespoons per fritter). Repeat with all the mixture until finished, you should make around 7 similar sized patties. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side until golden. Squeeze over with lemon juice and serve.
For the asparagus:
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- Trim the bottom inch off your asparagus and discard.
- Melt a knob of butter in a hot frying pan, add trimmed asparagus and garlic. Fry for 3-5 minutes, shaking often until asparagus is just done, remove from heat, squeeze over with lemon and serve.
yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and you are so right we North Islanders can only dream of these else pay through the nose at the nearest eatery.
Too true. Last night I at Taste there was a whitebait dish for $19 a portion. I think this post would be 7 portions, therefore worth $133! Between 2 people, that is positively luxurious.
Mouth watering. So jelly. Also the Great NZ Cookbook is super rad, the best meatloaf recipe ever is in there. x
Oh I need to check out THAT recipe. I mostly look at the book for the pictures…which coincidently, were shot by the photographer that is taking the food photography workshop at Taste this week.
I don’t think I’ve ever had whitebait but these fritters look gorgeous! Such a lovely simple way to eat them too.
Hi Genie, thank you for the ‘like’ for my Snickers Brownies. I look forward to going through your lovely site. Already I have seen your Whitebait Fritters and they look divine and so tasty. Have a lovely day. 🙂
Ha! My fave way of doing asparagus! Did that tonight with my NZ lamb chops (all the way over here in Canada).
Ha! My fave way of doing asparagus! Did that tonight with my NZ lamb chops (all the way over here in Canada…my Papatoetoe cousins would be proud).
Love your blog Bunny!
Don’t they have lambs in Canada?! I guess Kiwis do love to travel 🙂 Thank you for your kind words.
Thank you Genie for your like, I appreciate it. You have so many mouth watering recipes on your blog, cant wait to dive in and try a few of them.
Never thought of making fritters with whitebait, I love it! Only if I can get my hands on these beauties…I just came bk from the most amazing holiday in NZ, and I was very very sad to leave :-(…..Thanks for stopping by my blog by the way.
This is a quite very interesting recipe! I believe is delicious!