Lunchbreak: Greek Islands chef makes pan fried smelt

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Greek Islands
200 S. Halsted Street
(312) 782-9855

Thursday, March 14
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
City Fresh Market
131 North Clinton Street
(312) 575-0230

Pan Fried Smelt
Serves 4

2 pounds smelts (think 1/2 pound or so per person)
juice of two lemons (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
flour (bowl of flour for coating smelts)

Coat a frying pan with a thin layer of olive or corn oil for pan-frying and heat to medium heat. Place dry smelts in baking dish or in bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper. One by one, take smelts and drop in bowl of flour to coat…dust each smelt to help ensure a light and even coat of flour (you do not want too much flour on each smelt!). Drop smelts into frying pan that has been heated to medium heat. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown on each side. Don’t overcook! Take smelts out of fryer and lay on paper towel to absorb excess olive oil. Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or any dip that you prefer! Enjoy.


Make sure the smelts aren’t too wet — pat them dry before adding the lemon, salt and pepper. Otherwise, they’ll pick up too much flour which takes away from the light & crispy pan-fried texture.

Use a nice quality oil — olive oil is great, and corn oil works too!

Don’t overcook or undercook! Watch your smelts closely — you’re looking for a nice golden brown on both sides.

Keep the heat consistent — medium high heat is best to avoid burning

Sample with serving ideas for the smelts — at Greek Islands, we like just a bit of fresh-squeezed lemon juice on our smelts. But you can also serve with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or plain too

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