When it comes to fish, the smaller the better
Find these little guys at some grocery stores, fish markets, and Asian markets. If you live near a coastal town, head to the docks—fresh anchovies and smelt are often sold as bait. Look for fish with bright eyes, shiny skin, and a mild aroma. They’re very perishable, so plan to cook them the same day.
From left to right:
Smelt: They have pinkish flesh, a slightly nutty taste, and, like anchovies, are only about 6 inches long. Usually sold as bait.
Sardines: About the same size but slightly less intense than mackerel, sardines are the easiest small fish to find in stores.
Anchovies: Tiny, silvery beauties, fresh anchovies are mild, sweet, and totally different from canned ones.
American mackerel: Oily and richly flavored, they come 3 or 4 to the pound.