In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoon of olive oil, juice of one lemon, 1 minced garlic clove, and 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley; refrigerate.
In a bowl, or a shallow dish, combine 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoon cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Place fish in batches into the bowl, coat with the seasoned flour mixture on both sides of the smelt, and then shake off excess flour (see notes below).
Heat the oil (about 1-inch deep) in a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add enough smelt to cover the bottom of the pan without crowding (cook in batches). Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, crispy, and thoroughly cooked.
Repeat the process to cook the remaining smelt; drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot, drizzled with the lemon sauce.
Thaw your frozen smelt in the fridge.
If serving as an appetizer, aim for six to seven per person and twice that for the main course.
To clean smelt, gently pry open the head of the fish and slowly pull the gills along with the entrails. Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
Shake excess flour off of the fish before cooking.
For the best texture, fry smelts until crispy.
Make sure not to crowd the fish. Fry in batches, if necessary.
Let the fried smelt drain its excess oil on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or line with paper towels.
For the best results, read additional tips in the post above.
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Storage:Refrigerate leftover fried smelt for up to 3 days.