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🐟 Oil Packed #2
A tin that reminds me of home
Hi there, thanks for all of the love for Oil Packed #1! I was so happy to see so many tinned fish fans, and I hope you enjoyed the review and photos. I’d love if you could share Oil Packed with your friends and non-friends who like tinned fish. Hit that share button at the end after you read the following review:
Old Riga Smoked Sprats in Oil
Texture: Soft / Spreadable
Pair with: Chopsticks over the sink, yogurt spread
One of the first tins I ever ate was a can of smoked sprats in oil. My mum would serve ‘em on a piece of buttered toast and call it a day.* It was an acquired taste at first, but even as a kid, I knew they were delicious. I ate sprats at school for lunch, packed for road trips, on toast, on crackers, and by themselves. These days, when I eat smoked sprats, i’m usually hunched over the sink with a pair of chopsticks.
Riga Smoked Sprats are a succulent, heavily smoked fish. If you aren’t familiar with sprats, they’re similar to brisling sardines in size and texture. There are roughly 18-22 fish per can. They have their skin and tails still on, but don’t let that put you off - these parts are just as tender as the rest of the fish. The smokiness is rich and full-bodied. They taste meatier and less fishy than sardines. These sprats are soft, but not mushy. They’re spreadable - perfect as a sandwich topping. They’re packed in a thin canola oil that doesn’t make the fish too greasy - I recommend pouring some off to use in a salad dressing.
These fish are delicious on almost anything: crunchy crackers, soft crackers, potato chips, and bread all pair well. Try them in the traditionally soviet-style on some dark rye bread, like Borodinsky bread. I recommend eating smoked sprats with a yogurt-based spread, like labneh. A tangy and somewhat sour sauce cuts the thick smokiness, mellowing out the experience. If you can’t find a tangy yogurt, butter is also just as tasty.
This is a scrumptious tin that can be hard to find - try checking your local European grocery store, or order some online. I recommend trying this tin if you’re a fan of smoked flavors, and if you’ve tried brisling sardines, these are a good step up. This is a tin that’s close to my heart - I hope you like it.
photos by Aaron Barton
* My mum wants to let you know: the best way to eat this fish is with a slice of rye bread (borodinsky) and a thin slice of lemon with the pith - try it and let me know what you think.