27 March 2012

Fried smelt

While strolling through my local Whole Foods, gazing at the various different sea critters available for dinner, I heard an older man very animatedly extolling the virtues of smelt. "Oh, I grew up in Seattle. We'd serve them for breakfast. Just put a batter on them, deep fry them and eat them. They weren't cleaned like they are here, we'd eat the whole thing. I love them."

After a brief discussion with him, I bought a pound of smelt.


The older man in the store emphasized simplicity when cooking smelt, so I kept it simple, using an adaptation of what I found at Steamy Kitchen.
¾ cup corn meal
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound smelt
2 tablespoons butter
handful fresh thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic
1 whole chili, minced
salt and pepper
juice from 1 lemon
olive oil
Mix the corn meal, flour and garlic powder.


Dredge the smelt through the breading, and gently set aside.

Breaded smelt

Meanwhile, melt the butter and heat the garlic in the butter. Toss in the thyme, salt and lemon juice, and reserve warm.

Heat ¾" of olive oil until hot enough to fry. (You want it around 350°F). Set the smelt into the hot oil gently (so as not to splash - remember, the trick with hot oil is to get your fingers as close as possible to it so you're not dropping stuff in - you're actually less likely to burn yourself this way).

Frying smelt

Fry the smelt 2 minutes on a side, and remove from the hot oil. Drain briefly on a paper towel, then plate them. Drizzle the lemon/butter sauce over top of the smelt, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Fried smelt

So, I loved these. They're crisp and salty and hot and delicious. Bbq Jr. also couldn't get enough of these. Mrs. Dude was a little off put by the texture of eating a whole fish with bones. I think the next time we have this, Mrs. Dude will be on a trip...



Tina said...

Yummy. This would be the dish that would have me go get a fryer! :)

KirkK said...

Hey BBQDude - Looks great. We get fried smelt in various Japanese restaurants. They call it shush ammo.

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