Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Small Fish Fry

Generally, highly predacious fish are higher in mercury than small fish. Fish are a great source of protein and contain healthy fats that will reduce your cholesterol and improve your health. Fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your heart healthy. Fish with the highest mercury are listed below and one wants to limit their frequency in your diet.
·         Bluefish
·         Grouper
·         Sea Bass
·         Tuna (Canned Albacore, Yellow fin)
·         Marlin
·         Orange Roughy
·         Shark
·         Swordfish
·         Tilefish

Delta Smelt, Peter Johnson (More photos)
Smelts are a family of small anadronomous fish (sea run). They are common in the North American Great Lakes and in the lakes and seas of the northern part of Europe, and run in large schools along the coastline during their spring migration to their spawning streams. The family consists of some sixteen species in six genera. Smelt are known for their fine flavor and are high in important vitamins and minerals. These small fish are similar in appearance to sardines and anchovies. Smelt are low in mercury. In many cutlers, these fine fish are highly prized. Smelt are widely available in the freezer section of your supermarket, most often cleaned already. These fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

The Italians along the East coast of the US often eat smelts as part of Christmas-Eve dinner. In Japan, smelts are often battered (tempura) and deep fried. They are so crisp one can eat the whole fish including their bones.

1 pound smelts
1 egg yolk
1 cup very cold soda water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup corn starch
3/4 cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
Peanut or light olive oil for frying

Heat oil on medium high to 370 F in a deep, heavy pot. Attach a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. Set a cookie rack over paper towels to drain cooked fish. Salt smelts. Thoroughly mix dry ingredients in a glass bowl. When the oil is at temperature, whisk the egg yolk with the soda water together, then stir into bowl of dry ingredients.
Dip a few smelts at a time in the thin batter, drain, and carefully release into the hot oil. Do this in sparse batches. Fry for 2-4 minutes, it should sizzle while cooking. Lay cooked fish on the rack to drain. Sequence another batch as soon as the temperature is restored.

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