Jamaica Observer / What’s on the Thursday Food menu board today? The not-so-humble sprat, that’s what! A Holy Thursday and Good Friday staple, mouthfuls of crispy sprats are consumed with hardough bread or bun, their crispy delightfulness practically melting on the tongue. One is never sufficient, so fry lots. Sprats [in our opinion] taste even better 24 hours post-frying and crunchy cold from the fridge.  

First things first, says Porter-Smalling…

1. Sprats need to be fresh. How they smell tell you if they are fresh.

2. Always check that the eyes are clear.

3. Best place to purchase is by the seaside (if possible).

4. Wash sprats thoroughly with lime and water.

Cooking Tips: Scotch bonnet, vinegar and onions are the accompaniments for this small fish.

Sprats are usually fried very crisp.

It is a good idea to fry sprats in oil about ½inch deep. Always ensure that the oil is very hot. As soon as the flesh is opaque, it is ready to be eaten.

Ingredients: 5 lbs sprat Olive oil and sea salt for seasoning on fish ¼ cup flour Vegetable oil for frying

Escoveitch Sauce:


1 cup vinegar

1 cup water

3 tsp sugar

1½ cup julienne strips of carrots

4-5 medium-size onions, cut into rings Scotch bonnet, cut into rings to taste Handful of olives (pitted Kalamata olives) Pimento grains Salt for taste


Prepare fish for frying.

Season sprat dry.

Pat them down until completely dry.

Use a large deep frying pan and heat over high heat the vegetable oil.

Add garlic and pepper and let it burn a little in the oil.

Remove garlic and the pepper as soon as oil is hot.

Fry the fish in 1-inch deep oil.

Remove when crisp and set aside.

Escoveitch Sauce

Method: Boil water and vinegar with a pinch of salt and sugar.

Add julienne strips of carrots and onion rings, Scotch bonnet pepper, olives and pimento to taste.

As soon as liquid boils pour over the fish and serve.


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