SALT & PEPPER WHITEBAIT WITH ROASTED ASPARAGUS & DAVID’S TANGY LEMON DRESSING
If you can’t get whitebait, reinvent mock whitebait by using slivered cooked silverbeet stalks or cooked grated potato in its place. 1.5-1.8kg evenly sized asparagus, fibrous stem-ends removed 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 spring onion, white and half the green part, thinly sliced 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded, thinly sliced ½ cup flavourless oil (rice bran or canola) 250g-400g whitebait, drained and laid out on paper towels ¾-1 cup potato flour (available at selected New World stores) Szechuan Pepper Salt (see recipe) David’s Tangy Lemon Dressing (see recipe)
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place asparagus onto one or two low-sided baking trays, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss well and then spread asparagus out so that stems are not touching.
Roast for 8-12 minutes (cooking time will vary according to thickness of asparagus), or until beginning to soften but still bright green and firm to the bite. Remove from oven and transfer to a platter.
For the whitebait: Combine spring onion and chilli. Place a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and when hot add half the oil. Add spring onion/chilli mix and cook until crispy but still brightly coloured. Remove and drain on paper towels. Retain the oil in the pan to cook the whitebait.
Put half the whitebait in a bowl. Sift over half the potato starch and gently toss to evenly coat the whitebait, keeping them all separate.
Immediately add prepared whitebait to the hot frying pan. Gently toss after 15 seconds using a fish slice. Cook for a further 10-15 seconds or until just cooked and opaque. Remove to a warm plate and cover with a tea towel while you repeat process with remaining whitebait.
Sprinkle cooked whitebait with Szechuan Pepper Salt and spring onion/chilli mixture. Serve immediately alongside the warm asparagus accompanied by David’s Tangy Lemon Dressing. Serves 8
Bok Choy & Gai Lan with Olive Oil.