Whitebait Fritter

A simple, yet prized, kiwi delicacy – especially when served with buttered white bread and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Chur!

Whitebait fritters are prepared with a healthy ratio of whitebait to egg; the whitebait being an immature newly hatched fish, harvested when only 25-50mm long. A little flour might be added, and of course, S&P, but otherwise simple does it!

Whitebait is spendy seafood; the most expensive in NZ per kilo when on the market, with a few factors contributing. They’re caught during a small legally fixed seasonal window, only occurring once a year during migration. They’re notoriously tough to catch, with Whitebaiters constantly attending to nets. Finally, there is strict regulated control on net sizes, to help promote a healthy stock. With the degradation of our waterways by agriculture, urbanisation and forest clearance, levels of whitebait catches are declining. Currently, four of five whitebait species are classified by the NZ Department of Conservation as endangered.

This deliciously plump fritter was from the Whitebait Inn in Mokau.

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