Friture, sometimes called petite friture (“small fry”), is made with any tiny white fish such as smelt, whitebait or silverfish, eaten whole with one’s fingers and dipped in sauce. In France, they are associated with guinguettes (“gang-gettes”), 19th- and early 20th-century inexpensive drinking/dance establishments frequented by Parisian workers along the riverbanks just outside the city limits.
1 lb. fish
vegetable oil, such as canola
flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
several fresh lemons, sliced
Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Put flour and fish, in batches, in a plastic bag and shake, thoroughly coating fish. Dust off extra flour.
Heat oil to between 350 F. and 375 F. in deep pot or fryer.
Add fish in small batches, letting fry to golden brown, up to 1 minute.
Remove with slotted spatula and drain on paper towels. Keep covered and warm.
Fry in batches again for a couple of seconds and serve immediately with parsley, lemons, and sea salt.
Serves 2 - 3 as main course, 4 - 5 as appetizer
For easy dipping sauces, add fresh lemon juice to Hellmann’s mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.
For quickie aïoli, grate fresh garlic cloves according to taste and thoroughly mix with Hellmann’s, adding some freshly ground black pepper.