The Whitebait season on the West Coast will begin on 1 September and runs through to 14 November. During this time 'Coasters' and visitors alike flock to the waterways with nets and buckets to try their luck for the celebrated catch.
Whitebait in New Zealand are not related to the European whitebait. They are sprats of galaxiids (slim narrow fish with forked tails, which as adults live in freshwater rivers and lakes). In this juvenile state, whitebait 'sprats' resemble fat translucent worms and during spring are caught in the tidal river estuaries as the fish move upstream from the sea.
Labelled white gold these tiny fish are considered a delicacy and, and although much debate rages every season on the best way to cook whitebait patties, the below recipe has to be a favourite among Fox Glacier locals, who are lucky enough to savour the delicacy year after year...
Whitebait Patties Recipe (makes 4-5 good sized ones!)
Lightly whisk 2 eggs in a bowl. Add 250gms whitebait and salt & pepper to taste.
Melt a knob of butter in a fry pan. Once butter is sizzling add spoonfuls of the mixture.
Cook 1-2 mins on each side until egg is set and patties are lightly golden.
As an optional extra, place patties on slices of fresh white bread and add a squeeze of lemon juice. ENJOY!
Book your Fox Glacier accommodation now and try your luck at catching some white gold!