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A WHITEBAIT FRITTER a low budget meal all year round.   Amazing how much people pay for these little critters who have given their lives for our table. I have never and will never pay for them. Probably why the last free feed goes back about 30 years. Not too easy to catch these days certainly where they were when I was a kid. There was a place in the Devonport Naval Base called ‘Whitebait Corner’ which fed a few people in its day. The other day I drove past the roadside fishmonger, you know, clapped out truck and a hundred chilly bins which reminded me of the delicacy.    
  At left: Tarahiki is a common catch. Thinking cap on!!!!!!! One of the fish species we can afford these days is Tarakihi. The fillets are quite delicate and very fine around the edge of the fillet. I like to remove this part so that it can be cooked separately. It does become overcooked as the thicker part of the fillet gets its time in the pan. Used to give the trimmings a quick stir fry and then onto a fresh slice of french bread and butter.  
  Decided to take the Tarakihi off-cuts and my Japanese Chef Knife and very finely slice the fish into strips about the size of a whitebait? The traditional fritter is mostly eggs and whitebait. Substitute the strips of Terahiki and the mock whitebait fritter was born. You could throw in some poppy seeds if you miss those little black eyes. They were being consumed as they came out of the pan and I think it is a secret I should have kept to myself. Come to that I will go and get some for tonight.  
  Dividing up the fish   At left: four Tarahiki fillets ($15.00) as purchased at Farros. At right: The thickest portions of the fillets have been trimmedout for the evening meal. They will be coated with Japanese Panko crumbs and lightly fried.    

The trimmings make the fritters with chips and salad.

Two decent fish meals for two adults = $3.50 each for the fish.