20/10/2013

Sprats in Spicy Tomato Sauce [Ode to Worker Bee]

Sprats in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Over on Mark's Daily Apple, Worker Bee posted up an absolutely superb recipe for Sardines in a Spicy Tomato Sauce.

Horror! She decapitated them! How can you cut the heads of such beautiful fish?

I don't have sardines, but I do have sprats ... which I have to concede, I gutted mine.

Sprats, Latin Sprattus, a distinct genus within the same family as sardine and herring. These sprats are from the Baltic. Needless to say they are similarly oily and loaded with good omega-3. Highly anti-inflammatory, they make perfect partners with a light leafy salad and great bedfellows to a good, starchy hash ... or a spicy tomato sauce.

Sprats

Eat them whole. Heads, tails, guts, the lot.

If you're at all queasy about heads, cut them off. Actually, from there you can gut the fish by squeezing the belly up to where the head was. The guts will come out. Wash and you're done.

Otherwise, just make a small incision behind the gills and squeeze the belly up to the head to draw the guts.

You can pan-fry sprats or you can grill them. Grilling is gentler, frying is faster. You say tomato, I say tomato. I'm British, and a grill for me is an overhead heat source: broiler, salamander.

Talking of tomatoes ...

Spicy Tomato Sauce

You'll need tomatoes, garlic, chillies paprika, sea salt, black pepper and your favourite paleo fat, optionally, shallots or spring onions.

First, the tomatoes. Two per person will do just fine. Draw an X into the bottom, immerse in boiling water for 60 second and then plunge into iced water. Peel, quarter, de-seed and dice finely.

In a skillet, melt some of your favourite paleo fat - no, not goose fat ... coconut oil, for me this time.

Toss in the diced tomato and gently fry on to soften the flesh.

Add paprika for vibrant colour, sea salt and black pepper to taste then thinly sliced garlic and chilli. Cook on.

Sprats

When you're ready, in another skillet, melt some more fat - this time I did use goose fat; fry off your sprats.

Serve

Plate up ... sprats down, tomato sauce over. Simple as.

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