Eating Bait – Atlantic Silverside Catch and Cook

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It seems like just about every seaside culture around the globe has some sort of fried minnow on the menu. The Spaniards are enthralled with sardines, the Japanese love their Shishamo, and in England, fried whitebait is considered a delicacy. But, for whatever reason, deep-fried baitfish have never caught on here in America.

On The Water’s Andy Nabreski and Jimmy Fee aim to change that narrative as they head to the beaches of Cape Cod to seine up some silversides, not for bait but for dinner instead.


  • 3 to 4 dozen silversides, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Lime (or lemon) wedges
  • Ketchup (or malt vinegar) for dipping

Place the silversides in a colander and rinse under cold water. Give them a good dusting of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss them around to make sure they are evenly coated.

Place the flour, cornstarch, and sugar in a large zip-close bag. Toss in the silversides and give it a vigorous shake to coat them well.

Place the bag in the refrigerator and let them rest for at least a half-hour, shaking the bag occasionally. (Allowing them to rest in the flour mixture helps the coating stick to the fish when frying.)

Fire up an electric deep fryer and set the temperature to 365 degrees. When the oil comes to temperature, add the silversides in small batches, about a handful at a time. Fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

When the bubbling subsides, they are done. Remove and let rest on a wire drying rack.

Serve the fish with a wedge of lemon (or lime) and ketchup (or malt vinegar.)

5 on “Eating Bait – Atlantic Silverside Catch and Cook

  1. Sean Harrison

    I remember so long ago in Westbrook , CT., We used to call it drag-netting. We would get the silversides and fry em up !!! Popular back in early 60’s.

  2. Rogyr Timor

    Can you fry up a mess of fish eggs?
    Is that a tasty?

    1. Ron

      In Southern NJ shad roe is considered a traditional delicacy. Fresh roe sets are sold in local fish markets during the run. And yes, basically, you would be frying up a mess o’ fish eggs.

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