A Fish Called Smelt

I just had Smelt for the first time the other day. They where quite good. I had seen them befor but had no idea what to do with them. They where not some thing that i had growing up.  So when Miguel and I where walking through the store looking for ideas of what to make for dinner we stopped at the seafood counter. I was thinking of making fish and chips, but my plans where soon changed. A big pan of smelt set right in the middle of the ice.  Seeing this, Miguel started telling me how much he liked them and that his mom used to always make them. He then suggested that we have them for dinner. While curious about them I had no idea of what to do with them. So Miguel, without missing a beat called his mom and set up a smelt cooking lesson. We where set for a treat.

Roberta’s Fried Cornmeal Crusted Smelt


First she took the smelt and cleaned them. She removed the head, the fins and cut it open and removed the guts. She ran the blade of a knife down each side of the fish to remove scales. Many of the fish contained eggs which she saved to ad the pan. The smelt where then rinsed under running water and dipped into coarse ground corn meal.


A cast iron skillet was heated over medium heat and a knob of butter was added. The smelt where then fried till golden brown and crispy on both sides. Salt and pepper was added for seasoning.  The roe was also cooked right in the skillet with the fish til it was set and browned on the outside. The little fish where delicious. They where eaten bones and all.



About wileychef

Robert is a Kentucky native, raised on a farm in the middle of tobacco country. He first started cooking with his grandmother at a young age. This was the beginning of a life long passion for food and cooking. He later studied culinary arts at The National Center for Hospitality Studies at Sullivan University. Robert now lives and works as a chef in Portland OR.
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