Fried Smelts

He who smelt it… well, I like smelt. They are traditionally a winter mainstay and are often caught while ice fishing. They look like salmon but they are much smaller, usually under a foot long, but some species can get up to two feet. Where the heck they would walk to is anyone’s guess I suppose. But, I digress.

Let’s fry up a mess o’ smelt…

  •  2 pounds of smelts
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • Dash of paprika
  • A cup or so of corn oil

Thoroughly mix the flour cornmeal salt pepper and paprika. I use a Hungarian ‘half-sweet’ paprika which is a blend of mild and pungent paprika types. It has a nice smokiness about it that I find irresistible.

Dip the smelts in the half and half then roll in the coating mixture.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. I use a nice Loge cast iron skillet for this.

Fry the smelts for about five minutes on each side, they should be nicely browned. When they are done, place them on a paper toweled plate to drain, I usually serve these with boiled Long Island potatoes and warm red cabbage with apples, ah, but that’s another recipe.