Cornmeal Coated Smelts

I’ve always assumed that smelts were only available from the Pacific Ocean and was surprised to learn that other varieties are also found in the Northern Great Lakes region and the Atlantic Ocean.  These seem to be a larger variety that, unlike the smelt my father bought at the docks in California, should be gutted and headed before cooking.  Those I grew up eating were smaller and, when fried , were edible whole with just a quick wash and dry.

I found these headed and gutted smelts at a seafood store in Scranton.  They were good but I sometimes miss the ferocity and simplicity of primitive eating.  In some ways, the French still eat like that.  Rabbit heads.   😀

The butter wilted herb and chilli topper is a must for fried smelts or sardines.  Fresh dill justifies it’s reputation as a fish enhancer.

I adore butter lettuce but it’s not always available and when it is, it’s enclosed in a plastic, hydroponic container.  I like iceberg but we could use more variety in our salad greens.



About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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4 Responses to Cornmeal Coated Smelts

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Sardines and pilchards are similarly imprecise. Apparently there are 21 fish that can be called a sardine! I’m very fond of whitebait, which are just tiny fish – no gutting or beheading required. I’m sure the smelts were good regardless!

  2. I like whitebait also but smelts are a bit larger than that.

  3. Laura says:

    What all do you put in the butter wilted herb and chilli topper ? I’d like to try this with the larger frozen sardines (which have to be deboned and beheaded too …)

  4. Spicy Deep Fried Sardines

    1 1/2 lb tiny, fresh sardines

    1 cup flour

    1/2 cup bread crumbs

    Peanut oil

    2 red chillies, sliced

    2 cloves garlic, slivered

    2 tbsp butter

    3 handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, cilantro, dill, etc)

    Dredge the sardines in a mixture of the flour and bread crumbs, then fry in the peanut oil until crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels.

    Saute the garlic and chillies in the butter until aromatic, remove from the flame, add the herbs and pour over the sardines.

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