Pan-fried smelts: mild + delicious, easy to cook, and fun to eat whole with your fingers for an easy meal or appetizer. Smelts are small and their bones are tiny and pretty much edible–but still be careful anyway, just in case.
Lightly dust 1 lb. of smelts with semolina, medium-grind cornmeal, garlic powder, and salt or whatever seasoning you’d like. Heat up some avocado oil in a nonstick or very well-seasoned cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the smelts, about 3 min on each side. Cook in batches so you have room to flip them and they won’t steam.
Serve with Kewpie and a generous squeeze of lemon mixed with a big fiery flavorful spoonful of @thesamballady’s hot chili sambal. Enjoy right away!