- Once you get your hands on a mess of tiny fish, give them a quick rinse and then drain them well. If you have an electric deep-fryer, fill it up and plug it in. If not, take out a heavy dutch oven or casserole, or a large wok, and fill it with oil (vegetable oil works best) to a depth of about three inches. Heat it over high heat, testing it with a chopstick when it begins to get very warm: If bubbles come up from under the chopstick when it hits the bottom of the pan, the oil is ready.
- Take a cup of flour and spread it over a large plate; mix in a liberal pinch of salt. Dredge the fish in the flour, a few at a time. Shake off any excess and drop them carefully into the hot oil. Move them around with a spider or slotted spoon so they cook evenly and don’t stick together.
- When they are crisp and golden brown, remove them to a paper towellined tray or plate to drain briefly. Then put them in a large bowl, toss with a few pinches of salt, and serve. You could squeeze lemon over top, but you may find a glass of cold savatiano is all the accompaniment they need.
This story appears in the print issue of August 2014.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.