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Spicy Fried Smelts With Creole Lemon Tartar Sauce

  • Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 egg,* see note below
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Creole or whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 dozen small smelts (about 6 inches long) heads and viscera removed
  • 2 cups Crystal Hot Sauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • Creole seasoning
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • In a food processor combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice, parsley and green onions. Puree for 15 seconds. With the food processor running, pour the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Add the cayenne, mustard and salt and pulse once or twice to blend. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before using. Best if used within 24 hours.
  • Season the smelts with salt. Place in a shallow glass bowl and add the hot sauce. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the fryer to 375ºF.
  • Season the flour with Creole seasoning. Dredge the fish in the flour, coating completely. Fry the smelt until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the smelt and drain on paper towels.
  • Season with Creole seasoning and serve with the tartar sauce.
  • The American Egg Board states: "There have been warnings against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs on the grounds that the egg may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a type of food poisoning. Healthy people need to remember that there is a very small risk and treat eggs and other raw animal foods accordingly. Use only properly refrigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh, grade AA or A eggs. Avoid mixing yolks and whites with the shell."