Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rainbow Smelt (osmerus mordax)

The Canadian fishermen have started to haul in huge landings of fresh smelts in droves. These tiny fish are in the family of fish osmeridae. Small anadromus fish, they live in salt water and move into fresh water to spawn, like salmon. They are fairly common in rivers and lakes of North America. During the spring they can be observed in large schools up and down the eastern seaboard as they make there way to the spawning grounds. When you are small 6 inches or less you make a very tasty meal for all sorts of salmon, trout, walleye, striped bass and pike to name a few. They also make a very tasty meal for humans, and that is why you can find sportsmen trying to catch smelts using dip nets or even ice fishing. Smelts are often fried and eaten bones and all, all one needs to do to clean them is to remove the head and guts. They are usually sold this way at your local seafood counter, and if not your fishmonger should be able to clean them for you. Smelts are also known by the other market names spearing, eperlain and whitebait. The smallest of smelts, under 3 inches, can be eaten whole and can often be found sitting in for French fries as a bar snack in Spanish and French bistros.

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