Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

silverside the American and most suitable name for the small fish of the family Atherinidae. These shoaling fish, found in temperate and tropical waters around the world, willingly enter brackish waters, caring little how salty these are. They include several species for which there is a commercial fishery, notably Menidia menidia, on the east coasts of N. America. This fish reaches a maximum length of 14 cm (6"). Its back and upper sides are transparent green and there is a silver band, marked above by a dark line, running along the side. They are delicious. Larger specimens should be fried, while smaller ones may be treated like whitebait. Indeed, whitebait is one of the numerous alternative common names which are used of this fish, others being green smelt, shiner, spearing, and sperling (mostly names which belong to the true smelt).