Fried Little Fish

Fried Little Fish


Fried Little Fish
Fried Little Fish


They may not really be smelts although that’s how they’re sometimes labeled. They’re between 2 and 3 inches long and you can find them in an Italian or Chinese fish market. Some people call them bait fish, shiners or Kellies, I call them the potato chips of the sea. My Aunt Vicki used to make them on Christmas Eve. She called them “fried little fish.”

fried little fish 3
Floured and ready to fry


Rinse ½ pound thoroughly in a strainer under running cold water. Leave them head to tail, fins and scales. Spread them out on paper towels and blot them as dry as you can. Put 3 tablespoons of flour and some salt and black pepper in a bag, add the fish, shake until they’re coated and then spread them out again.   Put about an inch of light oil in a pan and add the fish when it’s hot. Make sure to separate them before putting them in the pan because they’ll stay stuck together – a little tedious but worth it.

When they’re done add salt. Eat them while they’re hot with white wine or beer like potato chips. A great snack for guests hanging around the kitchen while dinner is cooking.


6 thoughts on “Fried Little Fish”

  1. I JUST told someone about those! Had them once but still remember them as being soo tasty.
    Your aunt made them – I tried to make them once years later but didn’t have the know-how.
    Thanks – will try again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *