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  • 1 lb. package smelt (cleaned and dressed)
  • 2 C AP flour
  • 1/2 C rice flour
  • kosher salt/pepper
  • canola oil for frying
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As a child, I remember my Mother making Fried Smelt Fish every Christmas Eve for our Feast of the Seven Fishes meal. It was one of my favorites. I also remember helping her in the kitchen to clean and dress them. Thanks goodness you can now find them ready to prepare. I can eat these like potato chips. Just one will never do. This is a super easy and quick recipe. I love that I can now carry on this tradition in my home and share with all of you. Local to Charlotte? The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. can order them for you!

Me holding a tray of fried smelt fish

Rinse the smelt and inspect. You just want to be sure the smelts have been fully cleaned. Salt the fish. Heat up the oil in a cast iron skillet or deep pot (You need just enough for a fry). In a bowl, add the AP flour, rice flour, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the smelt to the bowl and dredge each piece in the flour mixture.

Shake off excess flour. Add smelt to the hot oil. I prefer frying in batches. You do not want to crowd the pan as it will affect the temperature of the oil. It should take about 5 to 6 minutes for the smelt to turn a golden brown. Transfer the Fried Smelt Fish to paper towels to drain off any excess oil and salt immediately. Continue until all smelt have been fried and serve…ENJOY! You really need no dipping sauce!

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