Marinated Baltic sprats

As the past two days were spent boiling meat jelly (our version takes up to 8 hours simmering) and then roasting of pig’s big fat back legs for dinner, it was rather work-filled days. Also, as those dishes are heavy for the stomach, I was glad I got few kilos of Baltic sprats (sprattus sprattus) from the market as well to make another solstice recipe – marinated sprats! We do live near the sea, so the fish is sort of a must-have. But not the “healthy” red fish, but the silver ones :).  Can’t really say that silver is less healthy. I prefer the silver – savor for the flavor.  If I can, I usually buy more than needed for dinner, so I can marinate some in and do some spiced sprats also for heftier breakfast. I’m not giving the latter recipe right now, because the trick there so far has been to get the spice – mix that and some salt-sugar-water and then drawn the carcasses in it for few days. Voila!

Choosing sprats – if the fish has red cheeks, it is at least day old. The less red in cheeks, the fresher the fish. So if you want to be absolutely sure that you get good fish – the fresh fish doesn’t blush.

Baltic sprats

The Marinated Baltic sprats

1 kilo of Baltic sprats
handful of salt
some flour for breading
oil for frying

Marinate:
medium size onion sliced in circles
half medium carrot sliced thin circles
12 black peppers
3 laurel leaves
3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2,5 – 3 soup spoonfuls of 30% white vinegar
1/2 liter of water

Clean the fish ( take it firmly in your hand, back towards you – cut off the head, slice the stomach and remove intestines) and after washing them, let them sit for about an hour with handful of salt.  You can do that night before – if you salt them and cover the bowl lightly, they will stay nicely overnight.

Begin with marinate. For this peal and slice the onion and carrots and put them in a pot with all the rest, except vinegar. Let it come to light boil and then let it simmer until the carrot is al dente. Taste the mix – it should taste slightly stronger than expected taste later. The fish will pull a lot of it in, so if your fish was not salted beforehand, it should taste slightly saltier.
When the carrot is ready, remove it from boil and add vinegar one spoonful at a time. Taste it. Again- slightly more acid than you’d prefer in end results. If you add one spoonful at a time, it will give you playing room. Remember – you can always add, but not take away!

Fry the fish.  Put the pan on stove and heat it. The best is to use not the highest, but the previous setting so you don’t overcook them outside and have them raw inside. Heat the oil.
Because the fish has given out its own juice, you don’t need egg. Gently toss them through so the sprats are wet and then through flour and straight to the pan. Fry on one side until golden brown and then another. I use oil rather sparingly – after fourth pan fulls, the flour burns, so it would be advisable to wash the pan after every fourth or fifth pan fulls. Simple rinse and drying with paper towel will be enough. 😉 spares you from all the smoke.

Let both the fish and marinate cool. After cooling, compose it in the box you wish to store them in in layers – layer of fish, layer of onions-carrots-1 laurel leaf-peppers, layer of fish, etc. until all the fish is gone. Pour over with the marinate and set aside.

Keeps in fridge for about a month. 🙂

Lots of talk, but actually just an hour worth of work with all. You can clean the fish and make marinate day ahead, so by the time you have another half an hour to spare, you can simply fry the fish and compose it in the box.

 

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