Many people think the good old sprat is too fiddly to bother with; but fried briefly in oil, a dish of sprats is a tremendously good traditional dish and well worth the trouble it takes. Fried sprats are traditional and quite delicious for tea.
1 Kilogram Sprats (2 1/4 lb) Plain flour Oil for frying Salt 2 Lemons
Cut the heads off the sprats and remove the guts at the same time. Pat the fish fairly dry with kitchen paper and dust them with flour.
Heat 2 cm oil in a large frying pan, add a pinch of salt and drop in one sprat. If it starts to sizzle, immediately drop in several more and fry them on each side until they are brown.
Take them out with a fish slice and keep them hot in a dish lined with kitchen paper. Sprinkle them with salt to keep them crisp. Fry the rest in batches, draining them well on the sides of the pan before transferring them to the serving dish to keep hot. Serve with wedges of lemon and bread and butter.