Smelt Nanbanzuke or Japanese Escabeche

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1 lb. fresh smelt, pan dressed (head off and gutted)
  • Milk for dipping
  • Peanut or vegetable oil
  • Drakes batter mix (available at Monahan’s) or seasoned flour
  • 2 small carrots (about 1/2 cup) cut into 2 inch strips
  • 1/2 cup daikon radish cut into 2 inch strips
  • 4 scallions sliced very thin diagonally, then squeeze into tiny rings

For the marinade

  • 2/3 cup dashi (bonito flake and kombu seaweed stock) available at Asian grocers
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 2T mirin
  • 2-3 t dried red pepper flakes, or 2 small dried red chilies crushed

Bring marinade ingredients to boil in a saucepan and reduce it down for a few minutes

Dip smelt in milk

Dredge in Drakes or seasoned flour

Heat a large pan over med high heat and add about 1/2 inch of oil

When oil is hot, (hot enough so that a tail of smelt sizzles vigorously when dipped in) add smelt to pan and fry for about 2 -3 min. a side or until golden brown

Drain on paper bag or paper towel and season with salt

Lay smelt out in a casserole or high-rimmed dish

Spread daikon radish, carrots and scallions over smelt

Pour marinade over the smelt

Mix it all together, cover and let marinate overnight or serve right away hot

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Monahan's Seafood

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