Pan-Fried Smelts

Total Time:
21 min
Prep:
15 min
Cook:
6 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds smelts, approximately 12 (6 to 8-inch long) gutted with fins removed
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Peanut oil
Directions

Rinse the smelts thoroughly and pat dry. Place the bread crumbs, salt and pepper into a large resealable bag and shake to combine. Place the lemon juice into a shallow dish. Dip the smelts into the juice and then place in the bag with the dry mixture and shake until the fish are well coated. You can coat 2 to 3 fish at a time, depending on their size.

Place enough peanut oil into a 12-inch cast iron skillet just to cover the bottom of the pan. Place over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the smelts to the pan, 4 to 5 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes per side until lightly browned and cooked through.


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    So simple, easy and delicious. Great on salad.
    Alton is a little quirky; program is more for the immature. His pan fried smelt sure needs improvement. As a former resident of the Great Northwest where smelt was plentiful, I suggest Alton dip the smelt in slightly thinned egg wash then a mixture of flour (or rice flour) & Old Bay Seasoning to fry the smelt. In lieu of fry pan, I use deep fryer at 350 degrees and when fish float to the top, they are done. I love smelt prepared this way. Since moving to Georgia, I've been unable to find smelt locally, so once a year I drive to Pensacola for the Seafood Festival and to visit cousins. In truth, I go to Joe Patti's fresh seafood market and bring back a large cooler full of fresh seafood, including 5 - 10 lbs smelt. My wife, kids & grandkids are in GA, otherwise I'd be in the Seattle area and get the ultimate fresh seafood at Pike Place Market in Seattle. As one reviewer stated, the smaller smelt fry up quicker and are like eating French fries. I prefer the small to medium, however, when you don't have a choice, I'm thankful for any size. Those having access to fresh smelt should just experiment with the flour, Old Bay mixture until the right taste is acquired --- then Enjoy! Coastie
    count me in the immature audience. Really? Such pomp, such silliness, such self-importance is cwo3cogard_8167050.
    I read the other reviews and made a slight adjustment. I added a little old bay seasoning, used smaller fish, and fried them very crispy. WOW! I never would have thought of dipping them in lemon juice.
    I think the larger smelts worked just fine in this recipe.
    Previous reviewer was right about smelt size, smaller is better. I would cut the heads off, but not worry about fins. Smaller smelt can be eaten bones and all. Another good way to cook them is to coat in a cup of flour and a teaspoon or two of Old Bay, or Durkee seasoning mixed with the flour and fry in the oil.
    Glad to see Alton use smelt! However, he choose very, very large smelt. Should stick to smaller sizes.Breading was a poor chioce for first time smelt eaters. Should use a thicker coating even perhaps use a egg dip then four with salt/pepper seasoning. Recommend cooking a little crispier than shown.
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