A small, oil-rich, silver fish that resembles an anchovy. Also known as brisling, this fish is closely associated with the herring family and is found in the North East Atlantic, Adriatic and Mediterranean.
Sprats are available whole and smoked, or salted and canned, both fresh and frozen. The best quality are those that are fresh and in season. Fresh sprats should be in a state of rigor mortis with bright, beady eyes and dark-red gills – in this state they can’t be beaten.
Sprats are mainly sold whole, so the head and guts need to be removed. This is easy enough to do, but ask your fishmonger to do it for you if you want to avoid the mess. Lightly rinse the gutted sprats, roll in seasoned flour and pan-fry, grill or bake, then serve with a splash of lemon. They can also be marinated.
Article by CJ Jackson