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Smelt!


agnolottigirl
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My wife will not eat smelts, but I think they are a treat. The only way we can get them around here is frozen. They come gutted & headless.

I take them from the freezer & run them under cold water to remove the ice coating (they are flash frozen with a fine coat of ice). Dab them dry & dip them in a little flour that has plenty of salt & pepper. Place one layer in a non-stick pan that has a hot mixture of olive oil & butter (enough oil so that the butter doesn't burn - also, not enough to cover the fish). When you have placed the last one in the pan, start turning them over. Another minute & they will be done.

Drain on paper towel. Eat the bones, they are good for you. The flesh should be moist.

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as someone who hails (hales?) from Nova Scotia, i'm going to ignore the negative stuff here said about smelts. :raz: as with mackerel, you either like it or you don't.

done in a coating of cornflour, cornmeal, black and red pepper they can be excellent. i would compare the best prepared smelts to the best prepared salt-and-pepper calamari. :wub:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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I cut off the heads and gut. Then pat dry and coat first with egg and then cornmeal. Fry in whatever oil you want - I use evoo. When they're done, I pull out the backbone and eat everything, including the tail. I think the crunchy tail is the best part. The smelt HAVE to be fresh, no more than a day out of the water. The cornmeal should also be fairly fresh, not stale.

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They were served at a local restaurant yesterday as the lunch special - smelt BLT sandwiches - with the heads on and bones in. All snuggled up between two slices of bread, tails and heads protruding. No, I didn't try it, but the person who did said he cut off the heads and ate them, then proceeded to enjoy the sandwich.

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OK, so I did try them (sorry for the delay--was out of town), and they weren't half-bad.

Smaller ones were better (crunchier and smaller bones, naturally), and I used the flour/cornmeal frying suggestion, since that seemed to be the winner. They're not going to become a new kitchen staple, but they were worth the $2.00 a pound I paid.

Biggest drawback: fried-fish smell in the house. Oogy. . . I had to leave on a trip right after that, so left Mr. Agonolotti to enjoy the fishy-greasy-smelty-smell by his lonesome.

agnolottigirl

~~~~~~~~~~~

"They eat the dainty food of famous chefs with the same pleasure with which they devour gross peasant dishes, mostly composed of garlic and tomatoes, or fisherman's octopus and shrimps, fried in heavily scented olive oil on a little deserted beach."-- Luigi Barzini, The Italians

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