Recipe for sprats

This starter recipe shows how to cook sprats.  This fish recipe is served with a horseradish sauce and you could use whitebait instead of sprats if you wish.


Ingredients – 4 portions

  • 8 sprats per portion
  • 3tbs plain flour
  • 1 tbs cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt / pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • Little gem lettuce to garnish
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 4 tsp horseradish mustard
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 slices brown bread & butter

Getting everything ready

  • Season the flour with sea salt and freshly milled black pepper.  Add most of the cayenne pepper (saving a little for dusting) and mix well.
  • Cut the lemon into wedges.
  • Wash and dry a few lettuce leaves.
  • Chop the parsley.
  • Wash the sprats.  Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the heads.  Rewash and pat them dry on a clean cloth.


  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan or work to around 200°C (Gas Mark 6).  Pass the sprats through the seasoned flour and shake off any excess flour.
  2. Carefully lower into the hot oil.  Fry about 6 at a time, so as not to lower the oil temperature.
  3. Fry for about 4 minutes until crispy and light brown in colour.
  4. Remove from the hot oil and drain on kitchen paper.  Keep warm while cooking the remaining fish.
  5. Arrange the lettuce leaves on your plates.
  6. Neatly arrange and add the lemon wedges and a spoonful of horseradish mustard.  Add a piece of bread and butter.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and dust with a little cayenne pepper.  Serve hot.

Cooking sprats – hints and tips

You can exchange sprats in favour of whitebait, which are a little smaller.  Increase the number to about 16 per portion.  Don’t remove the heads and fry for about 2 minutes.

Essential tips for buying fish

The following gives some useful tips on what to look out for when buying and cooking fish, such as finding a fishmonger and looking into the fish’s eyes!

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