Oh, happy day! Smelts are back at Craigie on Main. We chatted with Tony Maws about his adoration for the “simple, clean” seasonal fish.
Smelt season started a week ago; right now, Maws is sourcing his smelts (fresh daily, of course) from Nova Scotia. When the Maine waters freeze, he’ll get them there. Maine smelts, he says, are “phenomenal, beautiful.” You’ll find them dipped in arrowroot and served, crispy, with squid ink anchoiade (nice and garlicky) and pickled red peppers.
What does this mean for you? Deliciousness, of course. It’s one of the most popular plates at Craigie and a fantastic reason to leave your abode in the bitter cold and driving snow. Make haste to either the bar or dining room; they’ll be on the menu in both spots until late winter.
Oh, and one more thing: Maws cautions against using a knife and fork. “You’ll just make a mess of it,” he warns. Fried smelts are finger food, pure and simple.