Sprats with Grilled Aubergine, Parsnip Cream & Mustard Sauce

Let's just take a minute to give it up for the humble sprat.

Thank you ... I love sprats!

 I've been eating them a lot recently, so check back through a few posts for the skinny on these guys. Sprats are small, oily fish just over an inch tall, three or four inches long and cost quite literally pence each.

Better still when they're on offer!

I got a pre-packed shoal of the little fellows in the discounted section; 71p (just over a dollar) full price, for 12 ... 49p (80c?) discounted! That's less than 10p per fish!

I shared my catch with our kitten, who wolfed the first three down, managed a fourth and got some way through a fifth! Seven left - they're mine.

So, what to put them with ...

I had half an aubergine and for some reason, a real hankering for whole grain mustard (which is a seed, not a grain); half a block of Greek Feta that wants eating and some lovely tomatoes on the vine. Gah! There's a parsnip that really wants eating!

... that sounds like a dish is forming.

Grilled aubergine with sprats over a parsnip cream with wholegrain mustard sauce:
  • Sprats - Sprats!
  • Parsnip Cream - parsnip and cream
  • Grilled Aubergine - aubergine and olive oil
  • Mustard Sauce - Wholegrain mustard, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, chilli, parsley and olive oil
  • Accompaniments - Greek Feta, tomatoes and black olives
Let's get to it ...

First, get the grill on set to 225C or more. Take your aubergine (that's an eggplant if your English went funny crossing the Atlantic), score through the skin all the way around at the stalk end. Cut in half through the length, half each - this meal is just for me, so my half will do perfect. Score another line or couple of lines from top to bottom - this will assist you peeling the skin off later.

Settle it under the grill with a light slosh of olive oil and leave it be for about half an hour. Plenty of time to prepare the rest of the dish.

For the parsnip cream, peel, cube and boil a parsnip - this will make plenty and leftovers are very nice with a few carrot and celery sticks. Once boiled, purée with some cream. Voilà! Parsnip cream.

The mustard sauce is just a case of taking a generous tablespoon of the mustard, a good squeeze of lemon juice, touch of sea salt, grind of black pepper and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Finely chop some parsley, mince a chilli and add. Mix well.

Prepare your feta, tomatoes and olives. Set aside for later.

Sprats take a mere couple of minutes each side, so we can do those right at the end. Leave the heads on and guts in; just give them a rinse under clean, cold water, pat dry and set aside.

Once the aubergine is ready, retrieve it from under the grill and place the sprats under.

Swipe some of the parsnip cream across your plate and remove the flesh from the aubergine, placing it across the parsnip swipe.

Turn your sprats ...

... and when cooked on the other side, lay them against the aubergine.

Dot the tomatoes, feta and black olives all around and spoon the mustard sauce over the fish.

Done! That's a Gordon Ramsay Done!