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Sprat, European sprat, Bristling, Brisling

Scientific name: Sprattus sprattus Français: Sprat, Menuise, Mélette Español: Espadin Deutsch: Sprotte, Sprot, Breitling, Norwegischer Brisling, Spratto

Sprats are saltwater fish in the family of Clupeiformes. Their elongated oval body has smooth, bronze-coloured or silvery gill covers. Their back is dark blue-grey, almost black, towards the sides the colour changes to silver. A lateral line is not visible. Sprats may grow up to 16.5 cm in length and are native to the North Eastern Atlantic, North and Baltic Sea, Mediterranean and Black Sea.

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Nutritional properties of sprats

Sprats contain 16 to 17 % fat within their edible meat and are therefore considered oily fish. They are rich in protein and vitamin D. Sprats are furthermore a good source of minerals, potassium, iron, zinc and iodine.

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Use of sprats in cuisine

In Northern European countries sprats are mostly sold tinned. Their high fat content of up to 17 % makes them well suited for smoking. Smoked sprats from Germany, called Kieler Sprotten, are known in other European countries as well. Cured and marinated sprats are sometimes sold as anchovies but while they belong to the same botanical order, they are not closely related. Marinated sprats are best served with buttered dark rye bread. In Southern European countries sprats are often sold fresh or salted. Their meat has a fine taste that is best suited for deep-frying, pan-frying and grilling.

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