Delicious Fried Smelts Recipe from Grammie Bea
Welcome to Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts Recipe! I am thrilled to share this recipe with you, as it has been passed down in my family for generations. This recipe has a special place in my heart, as it reminds me of my dear grandmother, who would cook up a batch of these crispy fried smelts every Friday night for our family dinner.
Fried smelts are a classic dish that originated in New England, particularly popular in Massachusetts and Maine. The dish is made by pan-frying small, whole fish, typically rainbow smelt, until they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
In this recipe, I will guide you through the process of cooking smelts from scratch, from cleaning and preparing the fish to frying them to perfection. I promise that this recipe will leave your taste buds dancing with delight!
So let’s get started and cook up some delicious Grammie Bea Fried Smelts!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re a fan of deep fried fish, you’re in for a treat with Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts Recipe. This recipe is a family favorite, passed down for generations and loved by all who try it. But what exactly makes this recipe so special? Let me tell you why you’ll love it.
First, let’s talk about the star of the dish – the smelt. These small, freshwater fish are perfect for pan frying and have a mild, sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the crispy fried batter. Grammie Bea’s recipe calls for 2-3 pounds of fresh water smelt, with small heads removed and belly slits cleaned. It’s a simple yet crucial step that ensures the smelts cook evenly and have a crispy texture.
Next, let’s talk about the batter. Grammie Bea uses a mixture of Jiffy corn muffin mix, all-purpose flour, salt, and eggs to create a crispy coating that adds a delicious crunch to the smelts. The batter is easy to make and coats the smelts perfectly, making them crispy and golden brown.
But what really sets this recipe apart is the cooking method. Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts can be pan-fried in canola oil, which means you don’t need a deep fryer to achieve crispy, delicious smelts. Plus, it’s a healthier option compared to deep-fried fish. The result is perfectly cooked, crispy fried smelts that are a delight to eat.
Whether you’re a fan of rainbow smelt or just love crispy fried fish, Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts Recipe is sure to be a hit. With its simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this recipe is perfect for a family dinner or a weekend gathering with friends. So go ahead and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!
Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelt Recipe. This recipe serves 4 people.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2-3 lbs of fresh water smelt, small, with heads removed and bellys slit and cleaned (3-4 per person)
- 3/4 to 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2-3 eggs, beaten
- 1/8 to 1/2 cup of milk
- 1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
- Oil (enough for frying)
- Salt (to taste)
Note: If you can’t find fresh water smelt, you can use rainbow smelt instead. You will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Also, for a crispy fried result, you can use canola oil instead of vegetable oil. Finally, you can use more or less salt depending on your preference.
The Recipe How-To
Now, let’s dive into the recipe itself. Here’s what you’ll need and how to make Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts.
- 2-3 lbs fresh water smelt, small heads removed, bellys slit and cleaned
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
- 3-4 eggs
- 1/8-1/2 cup of oil (enough to cook the smelt)
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- In a separate bowl, mix the all-purpose flour and Jiffy corn muffin mix.
- Beat the eggs in another bowl.
- Season the smelt with salt to taste.
- Coat each smelt in the flour mixture, then dip in the beaten eggs, and coat again with the flour mixture.
- Place the coated smelt in the heated oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove the smelt from the pan and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Serve the Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts hot with your favorite dipping sauce and a side of crispy fried potatoes or coleslaw. These fried smelts are perfect for a big family gathering or a small get-together with friends. You can also serve them with a squeeze of lemon juice to add a tangy flavor.
Rainbow Smelt Variation
If you can’t find fresh water smelt in your area, you can use rainbow smelt instead. They are similar in taste and texture, and you can prepare them using the same recipe.
Pan Fried Variation
If you prefer pan-fried smelts, you can skip the deep frying step and cook them on a non-stick pan or a cast-iron skillet. Heat some oil in the pan and cook the smelts for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy.
Enjoy your crispy fried smelts with Grammie Bea’s recipe!
Substitutions and Variations
While Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts Recipe is already a classic, it’s always fun to experiment with different flavors and ingredients. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try out:
– Rainbow Smelt: If you can’t find fresh water smelt, rainbow smelt is a great alternative. They are closely related and have a similar taste.
– Pan-Fried or Deep-fried: While Grammie Bea’s recipe calls for pan-frying, you can also deep-fry the smelts for an extra crispy texture. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
– Cornmeal instead of Jiffy Mix: If you don’t have Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix on hand, you can substitute it with a mixture of cornmeal, flour, and baking powder.
– Spices: Feel free to add some spices to the cornmeal mixture, such as paprika, cayenne pepper, or garlic powder, to give the smelts an extra kick.
– Dipping Sauces: Serve the fried smelts with different dipping sauces, such as tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or aioli.
– Salad Topping: You can also use the fried smelts as a salad topping. Just cut them into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle them over your favorite greens.
Remember, the key to successful substitutions and variations is to experiment and have fun. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make the recipe your own.
Serving and Pairing
Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts are a perfect appetizer or side dish for any seafood lover. The smelts are crispy fried and have a delicate flavor that pairs well with a variety of sides and dipping sauces.
I recommend serving the smelts with a classic tartar sauce or a zesty lemon aioli. For a healthier option, pair the smelts with a side salad or some steamed veggies.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try serving the smelts with some spicy dipping sauce or a side of kimchi for a unique twist.
For a complete meal, serve the smelts with some fries or roasted potatoes and a refreshing beverage like a cold beer or lemonade.
No matter how you decide to serve them, these fried smelts are sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts are best served hot and crispy right after cooking, but if you have some leftovers or want to make them ahead of time, don’t worry, they can still be enjoyed later on.
To store the fried smelts, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When reheating, it’s important to use a method that will keep them crispy. Avoid microwaving as it will make the smelts soggy. Instead, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the smelts on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Alternatively, you can reheat them on a stovetop by pan-frying them in a little bit of oil for 2-3 minutes on each side until warmed and crispy.
If you’re planning to make the smelts ahead of time, you can prepare the dry ingredients for the batter and store them in an airtight container until ready to use. You can also clean and prepare the smelts a day before and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
However, it’s important to note that the smelts are best enjoyed fresh and hot, so try to make them as close to serving time as possible for the best results.
Tips for Perfect Results
Fried smelts are a classic dish that can be a bit tricky to perfect, but with these tips, you’ll be able to achieve a crispy and delicious result every time.
First and foremost, make sure to use fresh smelts. When purchasing the fish, look for ones with clear and bright eyes, and a fresh smell. It’s best to buy them on the day you plan to cook them, but if that’s not possible, store them in the fridge on a bed of ice until you’re ready to use them.
When preparing the smelts, be sure to remove the heads and slit the belly to clean out the insides. You can leave the bones in for extra flavor, but if you prefer to remove them, use a pair of tweezers to do so.
To ensure a crispy coating, use a mixture of purpose flour and Jiffy corn muffin mix. The corn muffin mix adds a slight sweetness to the coating that pairs perfectly with the smelts. Dip the smelts in beaten eggs before coating them in the flour mixture.
When frying the smelts, use enough oil to cover them completely. Canola oil is a great option for frying as it has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor that won’t overpower the fish. If you’re pan-frying the smelts, be sure to use a non-stick pan and fry them in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
For the perfect texture, fry the smelts for around 5 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy. Be sure to drain them on a paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess oil.
If you’re looking to switch things up, try using rainbow smelt instead of traditional smelts. They’re slightly larger and have a more delicate flavor, but still fry up crispy and delicious.
With these tips, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect Grammie Bea’s fried smelts every time.
In conclusion, Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts recipe is a must-try for all seafood lovers out there. This recipe is simple, easy to follow, and requires only a few ingredients. The crispy fried smelts will make your taste buds dance with joy, leaving you wanting more. Plus, the versatility of this dish makes it a perfect option for any meal of the day.
So, next time you’re in the mood for some deep-fried fish, skip the traditional fish and chips and give Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts a try. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family. Who knows, maybe you’ll start a new family tradition just like Grammie Bea’s. Happy cooking!
Grammie Bea’s Fried Smelts Recipe
- 2 -3 lbs fresh water smelt, small, heads removed and bellys slit and cleaned
- 3 -4 eggs
- 1 (8 1/2 ounce) box Jiffy corn muffin mix
- oil, enough to fill frying pan up about 2-inch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Buy as many fresh water smelts as you need. They are smaller and sweeter than sea smelts.
- Clean the smelts in cold water, cutting off the heads, and snip down the belly with scissors, to remove the bellies.
- Rinse out the bellies of each one, as you cut and snip the heads.
- Soak in cold water, until you are ready to cook them, or put in fridge.
- When ready to cook you will need:
- Eggs, beaten in a lg. bowl, enough to dip all your fish in,(depending on how much you are making depends on how many eggs you.
- I use about 3 eggs for 2 lbs. of smelts.
- Jiffy corn muffin mix, (if you are cooking 2-3 lbs. of smelts 1 box will do. If you are doing more, then you will need at least 2 boxes).
- oil, enough to fill the frying pan up about 2".
- salt, to taste.
- Beat the eggs well, and put them in a bowl.
- Put Jiffy corn muffin mix in a lg. plate, and mix in salt, about 1/2 teaspoons per box.
- Put oil in frying pan to get hot. Cook on high heat, letting the pan get hot, before putting in your fish, then turn down the heat to med-high.
- Dip your fish in the egg, and then in the muffin mix.
- Deep fry in at least 2" of oil in a heavy frying pan, until golden brown.
- You can also use this corn muffin mix to cook any other sweet fresh water fish, such as horn pout, or what you may call catfish, bass, white perch etc.
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Lucy is a mom who loves to cook up a storm. She enjoys discovering, collecting, and experimenting with delicious, healthy recipes for her blog. With her passion for cooking, Lucy is always coming up with her own unique creations to share with the world.