I love things that are easy, and it doesn’t get much easier than fried smelt. If you’re a fish eater and you’ve never had these, I encourage you to give them a try. Make sure to buy them small (3-4” max) because you’ll be eating the whole thing and the bones get a little tougher to eat as they get bigger.
I use a combination of olive and canola oils to fry these, because I like the flavor from the olive oil. Half and half works well, but that can be adjusted as you like.
A dozen or so smelt, cleaned
1/3 c wondra flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
3-4 basil leaves, thinly sliced
oil for frying
Heat oil to 325 degrees
Combine flour, cornstarch and spices in a bowl.
Place basil in a separate bowl
Rinse fish and toss in seasoned flour. Shake off excess and fry 3-4 minutes. Drain slightly on paper towels and sprinkel with salt. Place hot fish in bowl on top of basil and let sit for about 30 seconds. Toss fish with basil. Serve with lemon wedges.