Christmas Eve is celebrated with 7 fishes in our home. Fried smelts is just one of the many fish we cook. There are seven Traditional fried, baked and raw fish we eat as a family. Born and raised in America, my parents continued the Rome and Bari traditions every Christmas Eve.
I included additional spices added if you would like to try my version but that's just optional. Christmas eve always consisted of 7 fishes. We would have calamari stuffed, crab legs, lobster, shrimp, scallops mostly fried.
Baccala which is salted cod fish. We also had shrimp cocktail, fried haddock and clams casino and of course fried smelts.
Many more than 7! Smelts are a small fish. Through the years I have adapted to how we like our fish and add the extra dried herbs to my flour. This was not how the original recipe was made. I just like the extra flavors.
The years mom made the smelts they were just a crusty coating on the outside fried, simple and delicious. Check out the instructions for cleaning at the end.
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 teaspoons salt
1 plastic bag
2 pounds cleaned smelts
1 cup vegetable oil
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil, parsley, dill, added to the flour
Heat oil on medium heat.
Rinse the smelts and pat dry. In the plastic bag add all the rest of the dry ingredients shake to blend.
Fry in heated oil on both sides till browned. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.