Friday, January 22, 2010

Gloriously Crispy Smelt

Ok, I am so intrigued to hear what all of you think of this dish! When I told a few of my friends that I was planning on making this I would get a blank look because they had never heard of smelt. Once I told them what smelt is, they would wrinkle up their nose in disgust.

Call me crazy but I have wonderful memories of my mom making this for us when I was a kid. When I was in the local market this week the seafood department was carrying them. I scooped up a pound and even though I had no idea how my mom cooked them I was determined to give it a try. Let's just say my husband WAS NOT thrilled. He was praying that I would burn them. :) I didn't, and the biggest reward was that HE LIKED THEM!

The best way I can describe smelt is that it is a delicious crispy fish version of a fresh fry. Bonus - They are rich in calcium and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. High in calcium because you are literally eating the fish bones and all. Just a few inches long, the smelt are so small you eat the whole thing.

I'd love to hear what you think of smelt. Shoot me a comment. Have you eaten them before? How did you have them cooked (most common is smoked, broiled, or fried)? Did you like them?
Gloriously Crispy Smelt
4 servings, 3 WW pts/serving
1 pound raw smelt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1/8 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp kosher salt
4 dashes of Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Simple Cocktail Sauce
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 1/2 tsp horseradish
juice from a wedge of lemon

Preheat broiler.

In a bowl, toss the smelt with the kosher salt, Tabasco, and black pepper. Once the fish have been tossed with the seasoning, sprinkle over the flour and cornmeal. Toss to coat.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and drizzle the olive oil over the foil. Evenly spread the smelt over the foil. Broil for about 8 minutes. Turn the smelt a few times during cooking to crisp up both sides. Serve with a simple cocktail sauce or ketchup, and lemons.


  1. Okay Lissa. I have to be honest here. The look of this dish creeps me out. I'm all about trying new and unusual foods, but it kind of looks like worms. lol

  2. We had these when I was a child. I lived in Chicago at that time and when the smelt would run you could actually catch the very pleasant smell of the run. We dipped them in seasoned flour and pan fried them. I haven't though of them in years. Thanks for the memory and the recipe. Blessings...Mary

  3. Erin - These are really delicious. You should give it a chance!

    Mary - glad we could share in the memories. My mom made these often and I knew they had to be good if I loved them as a kid!