Merry smelt season

It's that horrid time of the year. One of the only things that takes the sting out of the pain and agony that is xmas is that it is also smelt season.

I don't know if smelt actually have a season, but the stores stock frozen smelts in the cold months and I can barely wait for them. Been frying these little guys forever, but this year, I changed my coating. I had always coated the little guys with egg and dredged in bread crumbs. This year I first dredged in flour, shook off excess, and then coated with egg and dredged in bread crumbs (seasoned with basil, salt and pepper).

smelt fishing
Don't name them or you might hesitate to drop them in hot oil.
After breading them in this way, the crumbs stuck tenaciously. Don't know why the flour had such an effect, but it was great. I took the breaded little guys and stacked them on a plate and put them in the fridge for an hour or so while I cleaned up.

I prepared my faithful FryDaddy (I deep fry outdoors on my deck) and started tossing the fish in the hot oil. A batch of 6 or so only takes a few minutes. Cook them fast because you'll probably eat quite a few while sitting at the fryer on a cold night. Frankie dips them in ketchup and we dip them in a mix of ketchup and horseradish.

smelt fishing

Interesting link on the smelt: seagrant.umn.edu/fisheries/smelt_mystery