Fried Smelts (Gümüş Balığı Kızartması)

It has been over 20 years since I have had fish this small. I remember eating small fish such as hamsi (anchovy) and izmarit (picarel) when I was small. It has been tempting to buy it when available but since I am the only one who is willing to eat it in the house, I never bought it before. This week when I was shopping I saw the fresh smelts and they looked attractive. I bought them without hesitation. They turned out really good and I satisfied my craving of fried, small fish. Smelts are common in Turkish cooking, but this is my first time cooking them. I think next time I will bake them in the oven in tomato sauce. Enjoy with rice or bulgur pilaf and salad greens.

1 lb smelts

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp ground black pepper

 For Frying:

1 cup white flour

4 cups canola oil

Wash and drain the smelts. Place the fish in a large bowl and add the salt, red pepper flakes, cumin and the ground black pepper. Mix by hands to make sure all the fish are seasoned well.

Heat the oil. Coat the smelts with flour and fry for about 5 minutes or until the fish take a golden color. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Serve with lemon wedges.