The slightly sweet tomato sauce masking these fried smelts provides a nice balance for a zakuska table laden with pickled fish and vegetables. If frozen smelts are available, they may be used directly from the freezer. This is an excellent appetizer.
Beat together the egg and cold water. Dip the smelts in this mixture and then in the breadcrumbs until well coated. Heat the ¼cup of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the smelts until golden on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Do not overcook.