- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 6 sour cornichons, diced, plus 2 tablespoons of the brine from the jar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Granny Smith apple
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
- 4 ounces sourdough bread, crust removed, bread torn into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 1 1/4 pounds medium smelts, gutted
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the diced cornichons, lemon juice and cayenne. Season with salt and black pepper and stir until blended, then refrigerate.
- In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the celery, apple and shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the bread and cook, stirring until golden, 5 minutes. Stir in the chives and rosemary; season with salt and black pepper. Remove the croutons from the heat.
- Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Arrange the smelts in the dish in a single layer and season lightly with salt and black pepper. Top with the crouton mixture and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Roast the smelts for 12 minutes or until the fish are firm and the croutons are crisp. Transfer the smelts to a platter, drizzle the brine over them and serve with the cornichon mayonnaise.
Like Malbec, Sémillon was once used primarily as a blending grape in France, but today has a following of its own in Australia for its zingy, lemony freshness. For these delicate little roasted fish, pour a fragrant or herbal variety.