m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Fried Smelt

I found a recipe I liked for fried smelt, but I misplaced it. Fortunately, they’re all pretty similar. I add more spices and skimp on the flour.



Mix liquid ingredients. Mix flour and spices. Chop scallions and dice peppers. Rinse smelt and pat dry.

Dip smelt in liquid ingredients, then dredge in flour mixture. Fry the smelt in batches in a large, heavy frying pan with oil, peppers, and white parts of the scallion until golden (about 3 minutes per side).

Remove smelt and deglaze the pan with the white wine and green parts of the scallions. Pour over smelt.


You can leave out the egg/milk step entirely.

You can deep fry the smelts at 375° for a couple of minutes (at most), skipping the pepper, scallion, etc. This is a much faster process, but they suffer from the lack of hot spice.

You can broil the smelts for 8 minutes, roast them at 400° for 12 minutes, or bake them at 350° for 20 minutes, also skipping the pepper, scallion, etc. (or not), and instead adding oil to the pan and/or liquid layer.