Pickled Smelts

Recipe will make 6 sandwiches

Smelts, which are available throughout the Great Lakes, make an easy substitute for herring.

  • 1 pound cleaned smelts
  • Coarse salt as needed
  • 2½ cups vinegar
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, and sliced
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon dill seed
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 dried chiles, crushed
  • 6 slices of rye bread
  • Butter to taste
  • Sliced red onion to taste
  • Dill to taste

Place smelts in a glass or ceramic dish, sprinkle heavily with coarse salt, and refrigerate 24 hours. Rinse and drain before packing into jars with marinade.

Heat vinegar and sugar in steel or enamel pot until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Pack fillets into two sterilized quart Mason jars and pour marinade over top. Refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving. Serve on buttered rye bread with a few slices of red onion and dill sprigs.