I had never even heard of smelt until Bill and I visited his parents, and his mother served smelt for dinner with creamed asparagus on toast.
What a meal!!!
Now after living here many years, we still like fried smelt as much as ever. When my parents visited us from
, Bill fried smelt on the grill for them and then they fell for it hook, line and sinker too! Louisville
Smelt net fishing
Smelt resembles salmon in appearance but is much smaller, generally around 7” and is fished primarily around the
Great Lakes. It is one of the few fish that fishermen are allowed to net. They also provide food for the growing trout and salmon populations in Lake Michigan.
Smelt is a very delicate fish and requires great care from the time of netting to cleaning them before frying. Depending upon where you purchase them, some additional cleaning may be necessary. If that is needed we use a soft tootbrush.
The smelt requires nothing but salt and pepper; no batter, no tartar sauce here. There’s nothing quite like eating them, tail and all, even as a delicious finger food if you don’t have time to pick up a fork!
With corn meal
Bill’s Pan-Fried Smelt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Carefully clean the smelt.
Melt Crisco in skillet, about 1” deep to cover fish, heat to 375 degrees.
Dip smelt in corn meal or flour.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Fry in hot grease.
Turn, continue frying for a total time of about 2-4 minutes until golden.
Allow approximately 1/3 pound smelt per person.
Spring is in the air and the smelt are in the water awaiting your skillet. I hope you try this and fall for it hook, line and sinker also!