Smelt season is back. I was at Uwajimaya yesterday and there they were, beautiful silver smelt, some with roe, for $2.79/lb. Iris has been asking for smelt as her pick of the week every week for like two months, so I’m glad they’re finally here.

Cooking smelt could not be more simple. You can clean the fish but you don’t have to. Dredge in flour and fry in oil over medium-high heat for two to three minutes per side, until crispy. Eat whole. They’re the fish equivalent of French fries. Iris and I absolutely love them.

9 thoughts on “Smeltings

  1. Holly Ferguson

    YUM! I wait for smelt every year–thought I might have seen some at Mutual Fish last weekend but alas, too early–not so any longer! I like them dipped in flour briefly sauteed in olive oil (not too crispy) then served with chopped arbequina olives & parsley. Somewhat of an homemade homage to a delicious smelt I had at Union about 4 years ago.

  2. jessiev

    we used to catch smelt in lake michigan with my grampa, when we were little. HUGE schools of them, running by. it was a phone call that would alert you to the fact that they were around, and then you’d hurry and grab up the nets, etc. and then go down – lake michigan would be COLD but you’d stand there and snag a bunch. come home, wash them off, and cook ’em. it was THE BEST.

  3. Sophia Katt

    As children, my sister and I were taken by my Depression-era aged dad up to LaConner every January to jig for our own, smaller and more succulent smelt. Jigging is not a bad way to introduce 5 year olds to fishing–if the smelt were running we would get three or four fish on one line, an immensely rewarding experience for a kid. Dad would clean them, and then fry them up after a dip in beaten egg and a flour/cornmeal mixture. Fabulous.

    I am the lady who mentioned at the UW kitchen demonstration Saturday that kids in my house growing up had to do the pancake and crepe cooking on Sunday mornings. We also had to do second and third batch-of-smelt frying, because my Dad was Busy Eating (half of the first batch of smelt, that is).

  4. Lori S.

    I don’t know where to find smelt consistently here in Oakland, but I love it. Them. It? Them?

    Please don’t bother cleaning the fish!

  5. Abby

    Where do your Smelt come from? We are in Northern Michigan and bought some locally the other day. My 2 year old who is on a total meat protest LOVED them, kept popping them in whole!
    I read your book in 2 days and was laughing out loud- I’ve already recommended it to friends and family- Thanks!

  6. sproutsinthekitchen

    fish fries, eh? so my 3 1/2 year old hates fries, which is a mortal sin because he’s half belgian. But he’s all about fish. Hm… I’ll give it a shot! And of course my portion will have to involve some Andalouse sauce.

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