7 December 2014
While Holt was snapping up yesterday's snapper at Findlay Market, he also smelt out (okay, that's enough) the first fresh smelts of the season. So he bought a pound for a favorite James Beard recipe, which is to be prepared a day in advance anyway (between baking bread and steaming our fish for dinner).
Baked Spiced Smelts
1 lb. smelts (these were rather large)
2 large onions, thin-sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chopped carrots
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
5 lemon slices
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. of a combination of allspice berries, cinnamon bark, and whole cloves
1 tsp. paprika (we used Spanish pimenton dulce)
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
Clean and arrange the fish in a baking dish. Combine all the other ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Pour this over the fish and bake at 425º F. for about 15 minutes.
Let the smelts cool in their pickle, then refrigerate overnight.
Serve chilled (though Barbara preferred it at room temperature), with a Gewürtztraminer, which can stand up to its spice.