A petite fish that packs a satisfying punch of flavor, smelts make an excellent snack when roasted to perfection in the oven. Roast smelts until firm yet tender in your favorite herbs and accompany with an herbed mayo for dipping, or coat with breadcrumbs for a crispy treat that provides a pleasant contrast paired with the sweet, succulent fish. If you plan on sharing, make sure your dining companion is comfortable with a snack that stares back; otherwise, remove the heads prior to cooking.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil. Arrange the smelts in a single layer in the baking dish and season to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper or fresh herbs like chives, rosemary and parsley. Top with breadcrumbs or crushed croutons if you'd like to add a bit of crunch to the dish.
Bake the smelts for approximately 12 minutes or until the fish are firm to the touch. Remove the smelts from the oven and serve. Create a sauce from the leftover baking liquid or serve with herbed mayonnaise, if desired.
Crispy Oven-Fried Smelt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Add breadcrumbs to a shallow dish, enough to fully coat all of the smelts. Season the breadcrumbs if you would like. Try a dash of cayenne pepper or dried herbs like parsley and oregano. In a separate dish, beat an egg with a fork.
Take a smelt and dip it into the beaten egg, then completely coat in breadcrumbs. Gently push the breadcrumbs into the smelt to encourage them to stick. Repeat until all of the smelts are coated.
Arrange the coated smelt on the greased baking pan. Bake the smelts for approximately 20 minutes, or until the coating turns golden brown, flipping once so that both sides get crisp. Remove the smelts from the oven and serve with a dipping sauce like tartar sauce, if desired.
How to Cook Trevally
How to Cook Atlantic Cod Fillets
How to Cook a Fresh Pike
How to Bake Boneless Skinless Tilapia
How to Cook Barramundi in the Oven
How to Cook a Turbot in the Oven
How to Cook Saba Fish
How to Cook Baked Speckled Trout
How to Cook Calamari in the Oven
How to Bake Frozen Spanakopita
How to Cook Prawns in a Oven
How to Make Easy Baked Spicy Chicken ...
How to Cook a Flounder Filet
How to Steam Codfish
How to Cook Whiting in the Oven
How to Treat Doc Martens With Mink Oil
How to Prepare Fabulous Baked Halibut
How to Cook a Pork Loin Fillet
How to Clean Scuffed Up Rain Boots
Different Ways to Make Whiting Fish
- Fish and Shellfish: The Cook’s Indispensable Companion; James Peterson
- Food and Wine: Oven-Roasted Smelts with Cornichon Mayonnaise
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart
- When purchasing fresh fish, make sure they have a fresh odor, firm texture and a moist appearance.
- When purchasing frozen fish, make sure they are solidly frozen and don't have an odor. Do not purchase frozen fish if there are any white, dark, icy or dry spots present.
- Consumption of undercooked fish could result in a foodborne illness. Cook fish to an internal temperature of 145 F.
Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.