Saturday, May 26, 2007

Smelt!

Smelts are bountiful in the Great Lakes and the spring fishing season is well underway if not close to the end. Unlike their sea counterparts, river smelts are often full of delicious eggs and, for that matter, eating them whole still with guts and bones is a rare delicacy. I had to travel to Japan to discover how great these little fishes (shishamo) are, especially when eaten with beer. We had them grilled with a bit salt and presented simply on small plates; no dressing, no sauces... just delicious small fishes still full of their own roe.



As soon as we were back in Canada, we had to recreate this dish. Since fresh river smelts are available in season and frozen ones for a slightly longer period, it was an easy task. In fact, all you need is a handful of smelts, a good pinch of salt, a little bit of oil and a grill. Once on the grill, they cook in no time. As such, for a bit of color use a strong heat and a little oil to develop some color on the skin. Serve them hot, ideally outside, with a cold light beer... then fall of your chair upon realizing how good this is.



7 comments:

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow, I hardly ever see smelts available. They look delicious though, kind of like fresh sardines which I love!

Nora B. said...

My sis is crazy over these fish (she calls them "pregnant fish"). I'll have to send her the link to your blog.

fufu said...

I love the smelts, especially the ones that are full of eggs. Never mind the fish bones and the heads(it sounds disgusting to some people).

Julie said...

I haven't had smelts in ages, my Aunt and I use to make these as a special treat. My whole family loves these.

Peter M said...

First time visitor and the food looks great! I be back....

Lili said...

Good recipe! Usually I fry smelt on the stove and add a mixture of seasonning to the flour: salt, black pepper, cajun pepper, mustard powder and garlic powder. The seasonning makes smelt hot and spicy! :)

Anonymous said...

id like to enlighten you...that ocean smelts are full of spawn or eggs as you put it in this part of canada in the spring and fall and winter monthes...thanks