This is a great dish for the start of a dinner party.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound whitebait (tiny fish)
1 quart vegetable oil
1 bunch fresh curly parsley, stems removed and the leaves washed and dried
lemon slices for garnish
1. Place the flour in a large paper bag. Add the salt and pepper, and shake well.
2. Dry the fish and add them to the bag. Shake until the fish are well coated with flour. Pour them into a sieve set over a bowl and shake, reserving the excess flour. Spread the whitebait out on a baking sheet and let them rest for 15 minutes.
3. Place the reserved flour back in the paper bag. Add the whitebait to it once again, shake, and place them in a sieve. Toss to remove excess flour.
4. Heat oil in a deep-fryer, large wok, or Dutch oven to 375 degrees. Working in small batches, add whitebait to the hot oil. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or just until the whitebait are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Add the parsley leaves in batches and fry for 10 seconds or so, or until the parsley is crisp. Drain parsley on paper towels. Toss parsley with fish, place on platter, garnish with lemon, and serve.
This is a great dish for the start of a dinner party. As soon as the tiny fish are crisp, you place them on a platter that is lined with a white napkin -- and then pass the platter, enabling your guests to pick up fish as you go by. Each tiny fish, of course, is eaten whole. Serves 12 as an appetizer.