Sunday, August 05, 2007

quick & simple fried fish

fish is one of those things that i enjoy eating but not making. the smell of it lingering after it's been cooked, especially when fried in oil, is hardly something i like having in my home but that's the reality of cooking fish. while some fish smell more than others, it's not one of the most appreciated odours if you live in a apartment building with neighbours! of course, keeping the ventilation (fan) going, opening the windows wide and using air fresheners or incense helps the clear the shtunk air.

when it comes to fish, most often i just take it already cooked straight out of the can as with tuna or salmon to use for sandwiches. although, after an exhausting day, some nights end up calling for frozen fish sticks with ketchup or "higher end" (LOL) tempura battered fillets. on the odd occasion, i will make fried fish like i used to eat at home while growing up. after eating it, i say to myself i should really do this again soon, only to be reminded by the smell that perhaps every six months will suffice :) i certainly know my cat would like me to make it more often!

so here it is, simple fried fish and nothing more. i like to use what we call éperlans (sea smelts). they are small and don't have too many bones. its central bone is very easy to remove and they cook very quickly.

éperlans info (in french though).

simple fried fish

sea smelts cook quickly and are very tasty, especially when pan fried in a small amount of oil. they take no time at all to prepare and each person can easily eat 3 or 4.


sea smelts (éperlans) or other similar fish

matzo meal or bread crumbs
salt, pepper

1 egg (more as needed)

oil for frying

lemon juice


in a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside.

wash the fish well and clean them up if necessary. dry them on paper towel and set aside.

mix together 1/2 to 1 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs with salt and pepper (approximately 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper - depends on your taste). you can add other spices also.

in a fry pan, heat about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil on medium heat. let it get hot. the amount of oil being used depends on how much fish you have. start with the lesser amount.

coat the fish with the egg on all sides.

place the fish in the matzo meal or bread crumb mixture and coat on all sides.

fry the fish for 3 to 4 minutes only per side. you'll know the fish is cooking properly when you turn it as it should be golden and the fish will sort of expand or open up a bit from the heat.

once browned on both sides, place on paper towel to drain.

eat right away with lemon, removing the central bone by opening the fish in half. watch out for any small bones.

good with rice or cucumber salad.