In summertime, when I visit my sister in Montreal we usually try to make a trip down to the Jean Talon Market. It's one of my favourite markets anywhere. It's not fake or pretentious like, say, London's Borough Market (which is basically a combination of phony tourist experience and Jamie Oliver film set). Jean Talon is a real market where real people buy real food. I love it.
If it's a nice day, we usually start out with an order of deep-fried smelt from a kiosk at the market's outer edge. So today, when shopping at the Grace Ottawa with my Mom, I couldn't resist a packet of frozen smelt. At under two bucks, it was well worth a bit of experimenting.
We thawed, dried and breaded the little fish. For flavour, we mixed some of my sister's dehydrated garlic, basil and green onion into the panko bread crumbs. While Mom made up a dipping sauce, I dropped the fish in hot oil for a while, but don't ask me how long.
They came out great. Not at all like the ones from the market (halfway through cooking I remembered that the market smelt are battered, not breaded), but still delicious and crispy.
UPDATE: I tried them again, but this time just rubbed them in flour then fried. I preferred them this way. Not so crunchy, but crunchy enough. And much more of a fishy flavour.