Rainbow Smelt Recipes

Baked Smelt Italian Style

Serves 6


2 lbs. dressed smelt

2 cups sliced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup melted fat or oil

1 can (1 lb., 12 oz.) Italian tomatoes, undrained

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1 ½ tsp. oregano

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ cup chopped parsley

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese



Cook onion and garlic in melted fat or oil until onion is tender. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar and pepper; mix well. Cover and cook slowly, about 30 minutes, until slightly thickened and flavors blend; stir often during cooking. Stir in parsley. Spread sauce over bottom of 2 or 3 quart, shallow, rectangular baking dish. Arrange smelt on sauce in a single layer down the center of baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cheeses. Bake in hot oven, 400 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.


Baked Smelt in Mushroom Sauce

Serves 4-5


1 ½ lbs. smelt

1 can mushroom soup

½ cup milk

Arrange a layer of smelt in the bottom of a greased casserole. Dilute one can of mushroom soup with milk. Pour half of the soup over the fish. Arrange a second layer of fish and cover with remaining soup. Bake 30–45 minutes in moderate (350 degree F) oven, or until most of the soup has been absorbed by the fish.


Barbecued Smelt

Serves 6


2 lbs. dressed smelt

barbecue sauce

¼ cup chopped onion

1 clove finely chopped garlic cooked until tender in

2 ½ Tbsp. butter

2 ½ Tbsp. chopped green pepper

1 Tbsp. tomato sauce

1 Tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. pepper



Simmer barbecue sauce ingredients for five minutes. Cool. Marinate fish in sauce for 45 minutes, turning once. Place fish on broiling rack, broil for 5 to 10 minutes, basting with sauce. Turn and repeat, until the fish flakes easily.


Grilled Smelt

Serves 6


3 lbs. dressed smelt (fresh or frozen)

2 tsp. salt

3 strips bacon, cut in half

dash pepper

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped parsley

Thaw frozen fish. Clean, wash, and dry fish. Cut 6 pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil, 12 x 12 inches each. Grease lightly. Divide fish into 6 portions. Place fish on foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place onion and parsley on fish. Top with bacon. Bring the foil up over the food and close all edges with tight double folds. Make 6 packages. Place packages on a grill about 4 inches from hot coals. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.


Pan-Fried Smelt

Serves 4


1 lb. dressed smelt

½ cup of cornmeal

1 Tbsp. milk

1 egg



2 Tbsp. fat



Clean and wash fish. Season with salt and pepper. Roll in cornmeal, dip in egg diluted with milk or water, roll in cornmeal again. Heat 2 Tbsp. fat in heavy skillet. Using a low flame, brown the fish on one side, then the other.

Variations: Soak fish in lemon juice for 10–15 minutes before frying to bring out the delicate flavor. Other crumbs can be used, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, crushed cornflakes or flour.