From Ricky Moore, Saltbox Seafood Joint, Durham, North Carolina
1 cup vegetable oil
12 whole small pan fish, scaled, gutted, gilled, and scored
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
4 cups seasoned flour
Vinegar and hot sauce for serving
In a large skillet fitted with deep-fry thermometer, heat oil to 350 degrees. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour seasoned flour into a shallow dish. Dip each fish into flour, gently tapping off excess. Carefully add a couple fish to the hot oil and fry until the exposed white meat is opaque, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining fish, letting the oil come back up to 350 degrees between batches. Serve hot with vinegar and hot sauce for drizzling.