Whitebait Sandwich, Noisette and Champagne Vinegar Sabyon

5:02 am on 29 September 2009

White bait is a season both chefs and our customers wait for. The white bait fritter on white bread with butter is the classic, lemon was the modern touch, when I was growing up it was with malt vinegar. All I have done is sautéd the whitebait, lightened the butter into a sabyon and gone back to the vinegar. The white bread we bake fresh twice a day, don’t take the crust off it’s the best part and you need the texture for the sandwich.

(Serves 6)


  • 300g West Coast whitebait (South Island)
  • ½ cup soft flour
  • Salt
  • Freshly milled white pepper
  • 100 mls canola oil
  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1 loaf white bread
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150 gm clarified butter
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 50 mls lightly whipped cream


Prepare the sabayon:

Combine the water and vinegar in a heavy based stainless steel saucepan and reduce by one third and cool.

Melt 150g of the butter and cool to room temperature. When the liquid is cold pour into a bowl add the egg yolks, mix through with a whisk set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk to a light frothy sabayon, slowly stream in the butter whisking continuously.

Melt 50g butter in a saucepan and cook to nut brown butter, beurre noisette add to the sabayon this gives the sabayon a delicious nutty flavour. Fold in lightly whipped cream, season with freshly milled white pepper and crushed flaky salt.

To serve

Cut 12 slices of warm bread, spoon sabayon on to each slice.

Season whitebait with salt and freshly milled pepper, heat fry pan over a medium heat, add the oil, toss the whitebait in the flour and place in a wide sieve and shake off excess flour. Add whitebait to fry pan and sauté for no more than 30 seconds till lightly coloured, divide the whitebait between 6 slices of bread top with the remaining bread slices wrap in paper and serve with fresh lemon.

Suggested wines to complement this recipe

Sauvignon Blanc
Matahiwi Estate Holly Barrel Fermented 2008
Eradus 2009