French Fried Smelt

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READY IN: 25mins
Recipe by mollypaul

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.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 lb smelt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 12 cup cracker, finely crushed
  • salt and pepper


  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.

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