Deep Fried Fresh Anchovies with Warm Mayonnaise
In this dish, fresh anchovies are fried a la romana (in egg batter), which creates a softer, moister crust than that fried in eggless batter.
Yield: serves 2-4
For the Mayonnaise
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
For the Fish
- Olive oil
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 3⁄4 lb. fresh medium anchovies or sardines (heads removed), butterflied and fileted
- For the mayonnaise: Whisk egg yolks in a me-dium bowl until pale yellow. Gradually add oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly until mixture is emulsified and oil is completely incorporated. Whisk in lemon juice. Mayonnaise should be loose; thin with a little water, if necessary. Season to taste with salt. Transfer mayonnaise to a cream whipper (see facing page). Aerate according to manufacturer's directions into the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water over low heat. Gently heat mayonnaise until warm (do not let it get warmer than 140°, or it will curdle).
- For the fish: Pour oil into a medium pot to a depth of 2" and heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 350° on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, whisk flour, 2 pinches salt, and eggs together in a medium bowl until batter is smooth.
- Working in batches, season fish with salt, dip into batter, and deep-fry until golden and crisp, about 45 seconds per batch. Drain on a wire rack set over paper towels and season to taste with salt. Serve hot with warm mayonnaise.