White bait is not a very common dish in Britain, but it is common in Romania. Fried white bait can be bought in the summer time on the beach or at events and fairs around the country. My husband came up with the idea of making a vegan version of white bait using baby corn. We’ve had something similar at a restaurant we go quite often, but our version is much more similar to the dish we had in Romania.
White bait is usually fried, but we tried baking it and it works. It’s not as oily, obviously, but it is delicious too. I will share the recipe for frying, as this is how the corn from the picture was prepared. But, if you want to bake it instead you can do that, just use an oil spray to coat the corn before baking.
I used seaweed bits, bought from the Asian supermarket. If you don’t have seaweed bits, you can cut nori sheets in small strips instead. Nori sheets, the ones for sushi, are available at all big supermarkets around UK. White bait is very salty, so 1 tsp of salt is the minimum is needed for this recipe. Feel free to add a bit of salt in the cornmeal before frying if you want to.
Ingredients for White bait:
– 1 small pack of baby corn
– seaweed bits, dehydrated
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– capers brine
– 2 spoons cornmeal
– 2 spoons flour
– oil for frying
Start by washing and cutting the baby corn in 4, lengthwise. Put these in a bowl and add the seaweed. Boil water and add the salt, lemon, capers brine, and the seaweed. Pour the water over the corn and seaweed and cover the bowl with a plate or a lid. Leave the corn for half an hour to an hour to marinate, allowing for time for the seaweed to hydrate too. After that drain the water.
Pour the oil in a frying pan and heat it over medium heat. Continue by taking a strip of baby corn with some of the seaweed. Toss it in the mix of cornmeal and flour, so it gets coated evenly. Put the corn in the frying pan. Turn it once on the other side to cook evenly. It should be ready in a few minutes, so keep an eye on them.
You can enjoy these with some polenta, if you want to make the dish as traditional as possible. Alternatively it can be served as a starter.