The Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) today has issued a plea for all Australians to support the industry through the coronavirus crisis. Simply put, they’re asking Aussies to buy and eat Australian seafood – certainly a fair and suitable request, given the fact we’re a nation of seafood lovers. While prime fish selections can be rather expensive choices, other more creative dishes can be created from lower cost fresh seafood. This crispy white bait recipe by Australian-born Rhy Waddington, executive chef of New York’s Winged Foot Golf Club is one example. It transforms a list of extremely affordable fresh ingredients into attractive plates, high in presentation and flavour value.

Crispy White Bait with Meyer Lemon Aioli, Pickled Golden Shallots & Fennel

Serves 4

650g fresh whitebait and flour for dusting
2 Meyer lemons cut in into halves
1 cup pickled golden shallots
1 shaved fennel and fronds
1 cup of Meyer lemon aioli

White Bait Flour

1 cup plain flour
2 cups tapioca flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbs salt
1 tbs ground white pepper
1 tsp cumin


1. Mix together and sift.

Meyer Lemon Aioli

1 egg
3 egg yolks
⅓ cup of Meyer lemon juice
Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups grape seed oil
Salt and pepper


1. In a food processor on medium speed, blitz all ingredients excepting the oil.

2. Slowly add the oil and blitz until emulsified.

Pickled Golden Shallots

1 cup raw sugar
3 cups red wine vinegar
3 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
1 star anise
3 golden shallots, thinly sliced


Bring everything except the onions to a simmer, simmer for 10 minutes, cool and cover cover onions for 4-5 hours until tender.

Fennel Preparation

Fennel fronds, picked and washed
Head of one fennel, shaved wafer thin
1⁄₃ cup of olive oil
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

To Serve

1. Dress fennel with olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and salt and pepper and place in the middle of the plate, top with pickled onions and fennel fronds.

2. Dust the whitebait in the seasoned flour, mix and fry at 200C for 3-4 minutes or until crispy.

3. Place the white bait and pickled onions over the fennel, smear some Meyer lemon aioli on the side of the plate and serve with a Meyer lemon half.

Essentials COVID-19 Supportive Coverage

Given the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s rapidly becoming apparent that money saving recipes are going to help us all over the coming months. In the last few days we’ve put together a collection of recipes at to help many get a head start on feeding families extremely well, for less money.

Over the coming weeks and months, Essentials aims to continue with clever food strategies, supportive ideas to share, and additionally we’ve now opened up our website and iOS app Essentials Magazine Australia allowing FREE subscription. To install the iOS app, visit the App Store today!

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