Irene’s West Coast Whitebait with Tarragon Cream Cheese and Salted Olive Oil Crackers

  • Irene’s West Coast Whitebait with Tarragon Cream Cheese and Salted Olive Oil Crackers

Irene’s West Coast Whitebait with Tarragon Cream Cheese and Salted Olive Oil Crackers


(serves 8)




8 Salted Olive Oil Crackers

145g Herb Cream Cheese

250g West Coast Whitebait (drained)

10g(1 ½ tbsp)  00 flour (double O flour, available  at speciality food shops}{alternatively use rice flour}

45ml (3 tbsp) Rice Bran oil { or a similar flavourless oil}

1-2 lemons (halved)

½ tsp flaky sea salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper {optional}

40g (2 cups) baby salad greens




To Serve

Place a Salted Olive Oil Cracker into the centre of each plat

Divide Herb Cream Cheese into eight portions. Carefully, so as not to break cracker, generously spread with a portion of Tarragon Cream Chees

Place whitebait into a bowl. Sift flour over whitebait and gently toss to coat.

Place a heavy-based frypan over a medium heat, and when hot add half the oil.

Add half the whitebait and after 15 seconds gently toss. Cook for a further 10-15 seconds or until just cooked and opaqu

Remove from frypan to a warm plate and cover with a tea towel while you repeat process with remaining whitebait.

Pile whitebait on top of Herb Cream Cheese on Olive Oil Crackers, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Scatter baby greens on top and around the plat

Serve immediately



Salted Olive Oil Crackers

(makes 19-24 x 10cm round crackers}


This is our version of the “Ottolenghi” recipe. Remaining crackers serve with cheese or use to accompany your favourite dip.




250g (1 ¾ cups + 1 tbsp) flour plus extra for rolling

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp table salt

1 tsp Hungarian-style  paprika {as opposed to Spanish smoked pepper}

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

150ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) water

30ml (2 tbsp)  olive oil plus extra for brushing

flaky sea salt for sprinkling



Line two low-sided baking trays with baking paper.

Into a large bowl place flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, water and oil.

Using your hand or an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix to form a soft dough.

Continue to mix until a firm dough consistency is reached. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with extra flour. Using a light rolling pin, roll dough to a 30cm round at which stage dough will become tough and need to rest.  Rest dough at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Resume rolling and roll to a 40cm round.  Leave for 5-10 minutes to rest.  Once again resume rolling and roll to a 45cm round and again leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Using a 10cm round cookie cutter or mould cut out as many rounds as you can (there will be approximately 14).  Fold dough offcuts together and rest for 10 minutes.

Roll again, to same thickness as 45cm round, and cut into 10cm rounds.

Place crackers onto prepared trays. Brush crackers with extra olive oil, prick all over with a fork and sprinkle with sea salt.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Remove from oven and transfer onto a cake cooling rack to cool.

Once cold store in airtight container for up to two weeks.


Herb Cream Cheese

(makes 145g}




110g (1/2 cup) full fat cream cheese (at room temperature)

15ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice

1 tsp finely chopped chervil, tarragon, dill  or Italian parsley leaves

pinch freshly ground black pepper



Into a small bowl place cream cheese, lemon juice, herbs and pepper and stir to combin Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to four days.