Cleaning and Curing Small Fish




About: Like inventing, woodworking, tractor gadgets, gardening, making Youtube videos, wind turbines, ham radio, making instructables, etc

Capelin are in the smelt family and are found in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Capelin are easy to catch with a dip net when they approach the beach - at times (in Newfoundland) they roll all the way onto the beaches, catching them is pretty easy either way. This video shows a quick cleaning method for the male capelin and it also demonstrates a way of using a convection oven as part of the curing and cooking process. (Traditionally the sun and wind was the curing method). Cooking capelin can be done as with smelt or as with small trout - this video shows salting and curing/cooking in a household convection oven.

The video also shows recipe variations and the harvesting of capelin roe. Some Japanese mix wasabi with capelin roe and call it "wasabi caviar".

This video shows the capelin being cleaned before curing/cooking - many old timers simply ate heads, guts and all (after curing/cooking).




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    6 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    We went camping and caught hundreds of tiny 1 cm. long minnows. it might have been interesting to fry them and eat them whole like chips.
    I'm gross.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea for curing these delectable little morsels. Around here we catch smelt in the spring using gill nets. I like to use the 1/2 inch mesh and catch the smaller ones to fry in a beer batter. To make the batter use one bottle of beer with three eggs and enough flour to make a thin batter (think tempura batter) and fry in 350 degree oil until brown and crispy. Drain them on paper towels and salt to taste. Instead of using a knife to clean them try a pair of thin scissors to open them up and cut off the heads. This works much faster and easier when there are a lot of fish to clean. The large smelt I save to use as bait when ice fishing in the winter. The pike and walleye love them. I'll give your method a try this spring. One more thing, the roe from smelt is excellent when sauteed with a little butter in a skillet. The entrails and heads get buried in the garden just in time for spring planting.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    rocklocker - Thanks for the comments and the recipe. I've been catching capelin off and on for years but the last few years I've been experimenting with the cooking and curing aspect. I have tried batter and deep frying but the batter is usually a bit thick for my liking. Your recipe seems like a solution to that. I like the roe recipe too so will likely give that a try. Good luck with your ice fishing this winter! Interesting about using the fish for fertilizer - whole capelin have been used here for the same purpose for many years.