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Wellbody Recipe: Tasty, Affordable, Sustainable Little Fishies
Why not try smelts? They're tasty, affordable, packed with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high in calcium and vitamin D (good for bones, teeth and muscle contractions) and B vitamins that help convert food into the type of energy needed for healthy blood, skin, hair and neuromuscular control. The small fish, which swim near the bottom of the food chain, are also low in mercury, calories and unhealthy fats.
Bonus? Smelts in season are sustainable and affordable, less than half the cost of wild salmon. In the Seattle area, summer prices for local smelt run from $3 - $5 per pound. Not sure how to cook them? Keep reading for easy recipes.
To gut or not to gut? Either way is OK. Small smelts feed primarily on plants and their digestive tract is tiny, so it isn't a big deal to leave it in. Some people who slow cook the smelts even leave the bones in, boosting calcium.
Here's a recipe for whole smelts.
Others prefer to clean the smelts, removing the head, guts and main bone – a simple process that's not too messy since the fish are small. Here's a quick pan-fry recipe from allrecipes.com.
Try this super simple two-ingredient recipe for baked smelts.
Feeling fancy? Check out this Food & Wine recipe for oven-roasted cornichon-mayonnaise smelts.