Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fried Smelts with Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise

     Southwestern Style Fried Smelts!  
     Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise is a great dipping sauce for fried smelts.  This southwestern style mayonnaise is easy to make with a blending wand or food processor.  Mayonnaise can be made from scratch with the same kitchen tool, but a good store bought mayonnaise that contains no artificial ingredients is just as good.     
     The choice of frying oil can make difference when deep frying food.  Hydrogenated oils should be avoided.  Peanut oil is a good choice, but many people have nut allergies.  Old fashioned lard actually is one of the best choices for frying seafood.  Canola Oil or Soy Oil are okay, if the oil is not heated beyond the smoking point.  
     After deep frying, the oil can be cooled down and then poured through a filter into a container.  The oil should be refrigerated and it can be used a few times.  Once oil is used for frying seafood, it should not be used for frying anything else, because the fishy flavor will permeate the oil.
     Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise: 
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.
     Step 1:  Place 3/4 cup of mayonnaise in food processor.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of canned Chipotle en Adobo.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Step 2:  Pulse the food processor till the ingredients are blended smooth.
     Place the Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise in a container and chill it for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
     Seasoned Breading Mixture: 
     This recipe yields about 4 cups.
     It is always best to have some extra bread crumb mixture when breading fish.  The leftover bread crumb mixture can be sifted and frozen for later use.
     Place 4 cups of plain fine French bread crumbs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of New Mexico Chile Powder.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of oregano.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Stir the ingredients together and set the breading mixture aside.
     Fried Smelts:
     This recipe yields 1 large appetizer portion that can be shared by 2 guests.
     Smelts are usually sold as a frozen product and these little fish can vary in size.  
     Step 1:  Place about 1 1/2 cups of flour in a mixing bowl and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place 3 large eggs in a another mixing bowl.
     Whisk the eggs till they are blended.
     Step 3:  Dredge 20 to 25 boned smelts in the flour.
     Dip the smelts in the egg wash.
     Step 4:  Only bread a few smelts at a time, so they do not stick together.
     Place a few of the egg washed smelts in the seasoned bread crumbs and toss the smelts with the bread crumbs, till they are completely coated.
     Place the breaded smelts on a platter.
     Repeat till all of the smelts are breaded.
     Step 5:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Place the breaded smelts in the hot frying oil.  (Add a few at a time to reduce hot oil foaming.)
     Fry the smelts till they are crispy golden brown.
     Step 6:  Use a fryer net to remove the fried smelts from the hot oil.
     Place the fried smelts on wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off the excess oil.
     Fried Smelts with Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise:
     Place a bed of leaf lettuce on a plate.
     Place the smelts on the bed of lettuce.
     Place a ramekin of Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise next to the fried smelts.
     Garnish the sauce with a few thin slices of green onion.
     Smelts have a very light and clean white fish flavor.  Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise seems like it was created specifically for fried smelts!  The flavor combination is tasty!