How to Cook Sprats


Some popular food fish are large enough to furnish dozens -- or even hundreds -- of meal-sized portions, while others are so small, you'd need several for each diner. Sprats fall into the latter category, a sort of very small sardine that's typically prepared in quantity. The fish are so tiny and their bones so delicate that they're usually prepared simply and eaten whole.

Pan-Fried Sprats

  • The simplest method for cooking sprats is to preheat a heavy skillet -- ideally cast iron -- until it's very hot. Rinse the tiny fish and pat them dry, and then drop them a few at a time into the hot skillet. After about 1 minute, the skin on the underside will begin to puff and blister from the pan's searing heat. Flip the sprats and cook for about the same length of time on the other side, and then set them aside to keep warm while you cook the rest. The tiny fish are oily enough in their own right that the pan requires none.

Grilled Sprats

  • Grilled sprats are a cherished tradition in the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries, just as grilled sardines are in the Mediterranean. If you have a mesh cover for your grill or a mesh grill basket, you can simply arrange the fish directly on the grill. Otherwise, it's best to combine several on a skewer. This reduces the risk of losing a tiny, tasty morsel through the grill to the coals. Brush the sprats lightly with oil or -- if you wish -- an oil-based marinade, and then grill them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Deep-Fried Sprats

  • The quickest cooking method for sprats is deep-frying. Like other fish, a temperature of 355 to 360 degrees Fahrenheit is just about right. Season the sprats liberally with salt and pepper, dredge them in flour and slide them gently into the hot fat. They'll only need about 1 minute of frying time, and then a few moments to drain on paper towels or brown paper. Devour them as soon as they're cool enough to handle comfortably.

The Finer Points

  • If you're not catching your own sprats, look for specimens that have bright, unclouded eyes and a clean smell. You'll usually need six or more per person, so buy in quantity. Some cooks like to remove the digestive tract before cooking, either by trimming off the belly or by cutting the throat and squeezing it out the opening. Fried and grilled sprats are tasty with just a light sprinkling of salt, but benefit from a splash of lemon juice or good vinegar to counter the richness of the tiny fish. A tomato-based relish or chutney, or strongly garlicy aioli, is also an excellent complement.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit gavran333/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • Difference Between Anchovies & Sardines

    Anchovies and sardines are both small, silvery, oily fish, and they are even related. Nevertheless, they are different fish, and connoisseurs will...

  • Difference Between Sprats & Sardines

    Sprats and sardines are sub-species of the herring family of food fish. The differences involve the habitat of sub-species and the way...

  • How to Cook Whiting Fish

    Whiting fish is a delicate fish that can move from a wonderful dish to a watery mush in no time flat. The...

  • How to Cook Fresh Anchovies

    Fresh anchovies barely resemble the hairy canned fillets bought in the store. They are prepared in a variety of traditional Spanish and...

  • How to Eat Sprats

    Sprats are a small fish similar to herring that are used for bait as well as for eating. Sprats are often found...

  • How to Cook Beet Root

    You can cook beet root by peeling and boiling them in a pot for 45 minutes, or you can even cook the...

Related Searches

Check It Out

13 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides That'll Make Turkey Insignificant

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!