- Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels or a dishtowel.
- In a large high-sided skillet over medium heat, heat 1/2 inch (1 cm) of oil to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and spices. Season with pepper (see note).
- Coat half of the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining fish. Set the flour mixture aside for the shallots.
- Fry half of the fish in the oil for 5 minutes or until golden and crispy, turning halfway through cooking. Drain on the paper towels. Repeat with the remaining fish.
- Coat the shallot slices in the reserved flour mixture, tossing to separate into rings and shaking off any excess flour.
- In the same skillet, fry the shallots in the hot oil for 1 minute or until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
- Transfer the fish to a serving dish. Garnish with the fried shallots and lime wedges.
Smelts are naturally salty, so no need to add any salt.
Eco-friendly tip: Fresh smelts are quite perishable, so make sure to cook them within a day or two of purchase. If properly stored, frozen smelts can last as long as six months.