1 tspcumin seeds1lime, finely grated rind only1 tbspsmoked sea salt, plus extra for seasoning (see note)For deep-frying:sunflower oil300 gmsmall whitebait75 gm (½ cup)plain flourTo serve:lime wedgesSmoky mayonnaise150 mlolive oil50 mlextra-virgin olive oil2egg yolks½ tspDijon mustard1 tbsplemon juice1small clove of garlic, finely chopped½ tspsmoked paprika
Dry-roast cumin in a frying pan over high heat, stirring continuously, for 20 seconds or until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar, cool slightly, then, using a pestle, finely grind. Add rind, smoked sea salt and freshly ground white pepper and combine.
For smoky mayonnaise, combine oils in a jug. Process remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth, gradually add oil mixture, one drop at a time, then in a thin steady stream until smooth and emulsified. (If mixture becomes too thick, thin with a little hot water before adding more oil.) Season to taste with smoked sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Makes about ¾ cup. Mayonnaise will keep refrigerated for 1 week.
Preheat sunflower oil in a deep-fryer or large, deep saucepan to 180C. Combine whitebait and flour in a bowl, season to taste and toss to coat. Sift excess flour from whitebait with a coarse sieve. Fry in batches, for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden, drain on absorbent paper and season with cumin salt. Serve with mayonnaise, cumin salt and lime wedges to the side.
Note Smoked sea salt, such as Halen Môn, is available from Simon Johnson and select delicatessens.