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Éperlan (poisson)

    1 kg of fish of your choice
    Lemon juice (to taste)
    Salt to taste
    Grated nutmeg
    Grated ginger
    Pepper to taste
    200g flour
    200 ml of milk, fish stock, or water, to thin the flour
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons of sesame (optional)

This is what we call in Cuba a preparation based on more or less thin slices of fish, preferably white flesh, breaded and fried.
It is assumed that this dish began to receive this name due to its similarity with a species of marine fish, from the salmon family but very small, which inhabits the seas of the North Atlantic and Europe.
It is commonly called smelt in French. It is usually eaten whole and fried, as all its parts are edible.
You can also find in Cuba a similar food, fish sticks, industrially produced with fish, rectangular and elongated in shape, breaded and ready to fry. But that... that's not Cuban smelt.
I have a very special memory of “fish sticks” because in the 1990s, these little fish cakes became the nutritional basis of the diet of university students in Havana.
There wasn't a single day that we weren't allowed a unit of fish sticks in the university restaurant, only never fried, because there was no fat at all back then, they were therefore baked in the oven and often very dry, a little tasteless and above all very hard, nothing that prevents certain hungry and determined students from devouring such a delicacy, even that of our table neighbors who sometimes rejected it. What a midday feast.
So, to return to today's recipe, we call this easy and delicious preparation Eperlán de pescado in Cuba, which we can eat as a starter or as a main course, but always accompanied by a sweet and sour sauce, salsa rose or tartar sauce, or honey and mustard or simply with lime juice.

Preparation :
Cut the fish into thin, elongated slices, or smaller, larger pieces. Marinate with lemon, salt, pepper, ginger and nutmeg. Wait an hour for it to macerate well.
Prepare the flour with the milk or fish stock. To make the dough, the liquid will be added little by little to the flour, stirring so that the ingredients are well mixed. Be careful that it is not too smooth. Then add the egg yolk and continue stirring.
Beat the white until it becomes a firm foam and add it to the previous preparation. Also add a little salt and a pinch of sugar.
Heat plenty of oil. Coat the fish slices with the previous mixture.
Fry them in hot, abundant oil until golden and crispy.
Serve and accompany with vegetables or a sauce of your choice. Sometimes it is good to add sesame seeds to the dough preparation.
In a word, it is an unforgettable tasting, just like the famous fish sticks of university years, memorable certainly, but differently.

Éperlan (poisson)
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