The Mystery of Smoked Sprats on Toast

Smoked Sprats on Toast with Chile Butter

Smoky, spicy, and just fishy enough. When I say Smoked Sprats on Toast with Chile Butter, does your head turn towards the plate, or do I turn your stomach?

I know how some people feel about little oily fish, especially little oily canned fish. But truthfully these smoked sprats on toast have a lot going for them. Starting with the obvious: sprats (as well as sardines, anchovies, herring, and the like) are good for you. One serving of these little silvery fish can contain 17 grams of protein and half the recommended daily amount of calcium. If you haven’t heard how rich they are in beneficial omega‑3 fatty acids then I don’t know where you’ve been swimming.

However, I didn’t choose to present another little tidbit on toast to sell you on the vast health and significant environmental benefits of sprats. You’re looking at these sprats on toast because I can’t resist picking up strange things in cans.

Strange Things in Cans

Ken and I were in a small Russian market in West Hollywood over the Christmas holiday. You can buy quality caviar there without the quality price tag. While in the store we grabbed a few unusual Russian pantry items with no real plan on how to use them. One of the things I grabbed was a cat food-sized can with Cyrillic letters on the outside and unknown contents on the inside. 

Once home I pulled out the groceries and began to look for clues about my mysterious Russian can. There were none I could recognize.

However, it was easy to deduce which words on the label were the “brand” logo. So I ignored those and instead honed in on the phrase копченые шпроты.

I decided that the contents of my can must certainly be копченые шпроты.

Of course, I could have grabbed a can opener and ended my sleuthing right then and there. But I didn’t want to have an open can of food and no plan for using it. What if it was cat food. I don’t have a cat…

So I stuck the копченые шпроты in the pantry and forgot about it.

Well, almost forgot about it.

What I did a few months later I’m really rather proud of. I went online and pulled up the Russian alphabet. Then I painstakingly copied and pasted each and every character from my can of копченые шпроты. Once my collage was complete, I copied and pasted that into Google translate. Lo and behold – I was the proud papa of a can of smoked sprats!

So now, all the oily fish lovers out there can grab a Smoked Sprats on Toast and cheer my diligence. As for the oily fish haters, well, the Calabrian chile butter will help cut through the oiliness of the fish. Making you forget all about these little fishies (and their health benefits). GREG

Calabrian Chile Butter
Smoked Sprats on Toast with Chile Butter

Smoked Sprats on Toast with Chile Butter 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 12Published

Recipe for Calabrian Chile Butter may be found here: https://​www​.sippitysup​.com/​r​e​c​i​p​e​/​c​a​l​a​b​r​i​a​n​-​c​h​i​l​e​-​b​u​t​t​er/

Smoked Sprats on Toast with Chile Butter


  • 12 slice toasted rustic bread
  • Calabrian chile butter (at room temperature, see notes)
  • 12 canned smoked sprats (may substitue sardine)
  • flat leaf parsley leaves (as needed)
  • finely grated lemon zest
  • freshly cracked black pepper


Lay the toasted bread slices on a serving platter. Spread a thick, generous layer of Calabrian chile butter across each one. Layer on a single smoked sprat over the top of each toast, then garnish with parsley leaves, lemon zest, and a grind of black pepper.

Calabrian Chile Butter 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2+ cupsSource Adapted from Bon AppetitPublished
Calabrian Chile Butter


  • 1 cup room-temperature unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped jarred Calabrian chiles (including seeds and any oil that clings to the peppers)
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1–2 pinch kosher salt (or to taste)


Place butter, chopped Calabrian chiles, lemon zest, and minced garlic in a food processor. Season with kosher salt and pulse until the butter is smooth and bright orange with some visible flecks of chile. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.