Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fried Smelts and Buttercup Squash

The Maritimes are a wonderful place for seafood or any kind of fish really. I got a huge bag of smelts (beheaded and gutted) for only 5$. Now that's a bargain. Plus I wanted to see how adventurous I was when it came to whole fish.

First I did the easy part; the side dish. I'd never eaten buttercup squash before (not to be confused with butterNut) but it really has to be one of my favourites. I halved it, scooped out the seeds, smeared it with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper after which I roasted it in a 350 degree oven for a good 45 minutes. My girlfriend said that it's even better than potatoes or sweet potatoes or any other squash we've ever had. I have to say that I agree.

For the smelts, it was pretty simple though really hectic. First I patted the fish dry. Every single one. There were at least 30 of the little buggers. But that wasn't the hardest part. I then had to dip each one in lemon juice, shake in some seasoned panko breadcrumbs (you could also just use flour) and fry. There was alot to fry. And I kept having to add more oil. And there were burnt pieces of breading smouldering in the bottom. And there were alot of fish so after awhile I just grabbed handfuls, plunged them into the lemon juice and dumped them in the breadcrumb bag before frying them. I was getting burnt by popping oil and the whole kitchen was a mess. Plus the fire alarm was about to go off.

The juice, however, was worth the squeeze. Smelts are a nice light white freshwater fish that I find resembles the walleye from back home. Plus they're fun to pick apart since you've got to seperate the fins and the spinal cord from the meat...unless you feel really adventurous and you eat the fins...I did. Just squeeze a little lemon and enjoy. All that fish for only 5$! Someone lost money somewhere along the line.

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