Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 5 mins

A perfect appetizer or tapas presentation. Fresh sardines (about the size of a woman's pinky finger) may be substituted if smelt are unavailable. Overnight brining time not included in preparation time. From the Mississippi Valley chapter of the United States Regional Cookbook, Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago, 1947.


  1. Remove small scales with a sharp knife and slit the fish; clean.
  2. After the smelt are cleaned, place in salt water and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Drain very well.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and cream to egg and beat together.
  5. Dip fish into mixture, then roll in cracker crumbs.
  6. Fry in deep hot fat (370F) until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with tartar sauce.