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12 medium-sized smelts
10 oz. spinach
1/2 c. cooked Italian rice
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. freshly grated Romano
freshly ground white pepper
2 Tbsp. sweet butter
1 Tbsp. pine nuts
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. fresh white breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/3 c. white wine
freshly ground pepper

Have fish market clean smelts and remove center bones,
leaving heads on. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse spinach well
under cold running water. Remove stems and put spinach in
saucepan with pinch of salt. Do not add any water. Cook
spinach over low heat until it is completely wilted. Drain and
as soon as it is cool enough to handle, squeeze between your
hands, into a firm ball. Chop finely. In a bowl combine rice,
spinach, egg yolk, cheese and pepper.
In small skillet, heat butter. Add pine nuts and saute
them until they are lightly browned, then add them to spinach
and rice mixture. Season the smelts with salt and pepper.
Stuff each with a little of rice mixture. Put 2 tablespoons
olive oil in rectangular baking dish. Place smelts in dish.
In a skillet, heat remaining olive oil. Add breadcrumbs,
parsley, oregano and garlic. Saute for 1 or 2 minutes and
sprinkle smelts with this mixture. Dribble wine over them.
Season smelts with black pepper and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve garnished with watercress and slices of lemon.
Remarks: If you want to make this dish during the
summer, substitute an equal quantity of fresh sorrel for
spinach and use fresh herring, instead of smelts.

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