Tag Archive: sea

Crispy Smelts [Atherina]

I was recently thinking of the sick phenomenon in English language. If you’re carsick, car makes you sick. If you’re  seasick sea makes you sick. But homesick is when you miss home. I don’t want to disturb any linguists here, but I usually feel seasick in a homesick way – if I may.I was born and lived in a city with 2 seas in both sides. But now I’m located in the middle of Middle Europe; nearest sea is a couple of countries below.  Meaning that I miss sea on an everyday basis; sea-missing is a lifestyle for me. And whenever I find fresh sea food, it gives me joy like I’m back home, watching waves from the balcony..One of those weekends we were in a farm house in the middle of forest. Someone brought a large pack of tiny fish for dinner. They were semi-transparent, shining in silver. I checked the name; Atherina (Mediterranean sand smelt): Made in Turkey. I was happy as I found an old friend. This is the common Aegean – Mediterranean fish I know as Silver Fish.

Inside the sea, hundreds accompany divers elegantly, since smelts are friendly gregarious fish. Very easy to catch, they can be fished with a bucket or fishing rot. Ones I know from Marmara and Mediterranean are tiny, fried and eaten with fishbone and heads on. In Canada they are fatter and served as appetizer in fancy restaurants. In Greece they’re fried with flour and served with lemon.

They smell of sea wonderfully. I must prepare them in my style.

I washed them with cold water, marinated in pepper and sea salt, and then fried them with corn flour. Tossed them with lemon juice and served them on plain pilav (Turkish style rice) and butter roasted green peas. That was the dinner but I can imagine having this crunchy delicatessen as meze with rakı.



  • 1 kg smelts (Atherina) fish
  • 1 cup finely ground corn flour
  • half tablespoon ground white pepper
  • half tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • half tablespoon ground red pepper
  • half tablespoon sea salt
  • sunflower oil to fry
  • one lemon


Crispy Smelt Fish [Atherina] Recipe

  1. Wash the fish in cold water, tap dry
  2. Add white pepper, black pepper, ground red pepper, sea salt and toss
  3. Coat the fish evenly with corn flour. Heat the oil in a frying pan, shake off excess flour, fry the fish
  4. Take the fish to a paper towel to remove the excess oil. Taste. Add more salt if needed
  5. Season with fresh lemon juice.
  6. Serve with fresh salad and more lemon.
February 9, 2016 [ Leave a comment ]