Sauteed Whitebait with Fresh Asparagus and Beurre Blanc Sauce

11:00 pm on 24 September 2007

(Serves 8 Entree size portions)

Beurre Blanc Sauce


  • 50ml white wine
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 1  shallot (1Tbl)
  • 8  peppercorns
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 100ml cream
  • 250g butter (cold and cut into centimetre squares)
  • salt and pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice


Place the wine and vinegar in a saucepan.

Rough chop the shallot and add to the liquid with the peppercorns and bay leaf.

Place on medium heat and reduce the wine and vinegar by three-quarters.

Next add the cream and reduce by half. Cool slightly then return to very low heat.

Whisk in the butter piece by piece until fully incorporated and silky smooth in appearance.

Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and discard the solids.

Taste the beurre blanc sauce and season with salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice if required. The beurre blanc will keep in this form for a couple of hours if kept covered in a warm place.  Once it is cold it can't be reheated as it will split.

Sauteed Whitebait with Fresh Asparagus


  • 40 asparagus spears
  • 400g whitebait (dried with a towel)
  • 500g flour
  • cooking oil
  • butter (for cooking)
  • salt and pepper
  • Buerre Blanc sauce
  • lemon wedges to garnish


Place a large saucepan of salted water on high heat for cooking the asparagus.

Once boiling, add the asparagus. The asparagus will be cooked after 4-5 minutes.

Take a skillet or saute pan and bring up to high heat. In batches place the dried whitebait in a dry sieve and cover with heaps of flour. Shaking the sieve, remove all the flour from the whitebait, leaving just a micro covering on each individual whitebait.

Add cooking oil and butter to the pan and immediately add the whitebait. Cook for about a minute on each side, until slightly golden. Remove and keep warm while you finish cooking the rest.

To plate

Divide the cooked asparagus onto warm plates and top with the sauteed whitebait. Spoon around liberal amounts of Beurre Blanc sauce and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve.

John Hawkesby’s wine suggestions

Sauvignon Blanc

Stone Paddock 2006
Culley 2007
Amisfield 2007

From Nine To Noon

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