Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Any good eel recipes?


kermie
 Share

Recommended Posts

I got some fresh eels - that i've since put in the freezer cause i had no idea what to do with them. Apart from unagi does anyone have any ideas? Have never cooked with them so any tips would be great. thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hot smoke and eat cold?

Eel gutted and kidney removed.

Brine for half an hour in 80% saturated brine.

Hang by the 'throat', propping the belly open with wooden skewers.

Dry in cool/cold smoke (2 to 2.5 hours?) then an hour at 77C/170F to cook the thing ...

(Detail from Erlandson)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hot smoke and eat cold?

That's the way its usually done here. I posted a few smoked eel pictures here on post #2. Unless you catch them yourself fresh eels are hard to come by. I had them fresh many years ago -- a bit like catfish.

Home many do you have? Don't forget King Henry I of England never recovered from a 12th century eel bender:

Henry found it expedient to spent an equal amount of time in both his realms but, on 1st August 1135, he left England for the last time. An eclipse the next day was seen as a bad omen and by December, the King was dead. He apparently had a great love of lampreys (eels), despite their disagreeing with him intensely. He had been ordered not to eat them by his physician, but, at his hunting lodge at St Denis-le-Fermont, near Gisors, the monarch decided he fancied some for supper. A severe case of ptomaine poisoning ensued, of which gluttonous King Henry died.
-David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History Website

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do different types of eel need to be prepared differently? We received fresh-caught eel a couple of years ago from an eeler on the northern CA coast. He cleaned, skinned and boned it for us and suggested we do the following: simply dip pieces in egg, then in salted flour, shake off the excess, and saute in butter or oil til just done--as simple as any pan-fried fish could be. It was fabulous. It reminded me of black cod: delicate, moist, mild. It's been a while, but my memory of catfish isn't like that. Both sea-water and fresh-water eel tastes good to me in Japanese restaurants, but I've never had them side-by-side for a comparison and usually they are subjected to substantial sweet/salty treatment. This plain pan-fry eel was a revelation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hot smoke and eat cold?

That's the way its usually done here. I posted a few smoked eel pictures here on post #2. Unless you catch them yourself fresh eels are hard to come by. I had them fresh many years ago -- a bit like catfish.

Home many do you have? Don't forget King Henry I of England never recovered from a 12th century eel bender:

Henry found it expedient to spent an equal amount of time in both his realms but, on 1st August 1135, he left England for the last time. An eclipse the next day was seen as a bad omen and by December, the King was dead. He apparently had a great love of lampreys (eels), despite their disagreeing with him intensely. He had been ordered not to eat them by his physician, but, at his hunting lodge at St Denis-le-Fermont, near Gisors, the monarch decided he fancied some for supper. A severe case of ptomaine poisoning ensued, of which gluttonous King Henry died.
-David Nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History Website

Lampreys aren't eels, not even closely related.

Eels can have a lot of fat, especially larger specimens, so this is often why you will see recipes that involve grilling. With small (but still adult) specimens, this isn't a problem and you can cook them in all sorts of different ways, including stews and braises.

The flavor is delicate, but the flesh is rich, so often something to compliment this is good. With small eels they are good chopped into sections, cooked with a little garlic,/shallots then parsley and white wine is added. This would be horrible with bigger eels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lampreys aren't eels, not even closely related.

Right you are, lamprey aren't even really fish. Eels and lamprey are slender aquatic chordates belonging to totally different Classes.

If a creature swims in the ocean its bound to have a zillion different names depending who you ask. I suspect the quote's author was calling on an archaic use of the word.

I think highly of the much maligned eel, but the lamprey I know living in Lake Ontario are quite hideous. I've caught salmon there with lamprey attached that were almost twice as long as the host. That's like me with a 500lb 12' leech sucking my blood. :sad:

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got some fresh eels - that i've since put in the freezer cause i had no idea what to do with them.  Apart from unagi does anyone have any ideas?  Have never cooked with them so any tips would be great.  thanks

I'm jealous, where did you get them? In Amsterdam? I've been looking for fresh (unsmoked) eel for a long time to make this Dutch classic for the Dutch Cooking thread!

'Stoofaal' is eel chopped into 5 cm pieces, braised with lots of butter, a bit of vinegar or white wine, salt and pepper and nothing else.. served with a sprinkling of parsley and floury boiled potatoes. My husbands grandmother used to make this for us and it's delicious, but very rich as you can imagine :smile:

Edited by Chufi (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone - interesting ideas. Still not sure which to try.

I have about 6 which the fishmonger recommended for 2 people - I listen and try.

Might try them this weekend - am leaning towards japanese style because that's what i'm familiar with but would like to try the dutch way too.

*Chufi - I got them at my local fish monger in badhoevedorp. Another local one in nieuwe sloten has a bunch of them live right now. I can give you the details if you want. Do you have any specifics to your recipe - how long do you braise it for?

My problem is that I don't know what is considered a small eel or a big one so I will have to guess and wing it. Will keep you updated. But let me knowif you have other ideas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i've only had it smoked and served cold. it's very good.

someone in the sous vide thread said he very successfully cooked eel en sous vide. incidentally, this was one of the first things that came to mind when i first considered getting a water bath. trip reports anyone? my equipment won't be arriving for atleast another week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

fillet and cut into bite sized chunks

lightly batter them, deep fry and then a quick stir fry with a little oil, garlic, spring onion and chilli :) they go great with deep fried garlic chips too

Edited by origamicrane (log)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

American eels grow up to 4-5 ft, (at least I've seen them that big while scuba diving) but the more common size is 2ft. The are delicious if properly prepared.

I made eel for one of the 9 Xmas Eve fish dishes last year, I used eel instead of flounder for a Sicilian sweet sour dish.

The eel needs to be skinned, usually accomplished by putting the head on a hook or nail, cutting the skin around the neck area and peeling the skin back inside out towards the tail, like taking off a sock or condom.

They have "Y" shaped bones so the meat is filleted off each side and cut into pieces 2-3"long, floured, egg dipped, breaded and deep fried. They are arranged on a plate and covered with a sauce of white vinegar, sugar, raisins, pignoli, capers and bay leafs, left to marinate at room temperature for a few hours before serving. The vinegar sauce nicely cuts the fatness of the eel.

I adapted the recipe from Bugliali's FOODS OF ITALY.

Edited by Recoil Rob (log)

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

American eels grow up to 4-5 ft, (at least I've seen them that big while scuba diving) but the more common size is 2ft. The are delicious if properly prepared.

I made eel for one of the 9 Xmas Eve fish dishes last year, I used eel instead of flounder for a Sicilian sweet sour dish.

The eel needs to be skinned, usually accomplished by putting the head on a hook or nail, cutting the skin around the neck area and peeling the skin back inside out towards the tail, like taking off a sock or condom.

They have "Y" shaped bones so the meat is filleted off each side and cut into pieces 2-3"long, floured, egg dipped, breaded and deep fried. They are arranged on a plate and covered with a sauce of white vinegar, sugar, raisins, pignoli, capers and bay leafs, left to marinate at room temperature for a few hours before serving. The vinegar sauce nicely cuts the fatness of the eel.

I adapted the recipe from Bugliali's FOODS OF ITALY.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen live eel in a tank in Chinese stores in my area, but the notion of skinning the darn thing was intimidating.  Is there any system besides the hanging by its head on a hail, etc.?  That's what's always put me off.

If you're buying them in a store they'll skin them for you.

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite recipe is from Mario Batali's "Holiday Food", which he cuts the skinned eel into 1-2" pieces, dredges in flour, fries, then marinades in reduced red wine vinegar with lots of garlic and some oregano or marjoram and thyme. It's wonderful, and like stew or chili, the longer it sits, the better it is. Serve slightly warm or at room temp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

Today I was surprised and excited to see fresh eels at my regular grocery store. I had to pass since we're going away, but my mind is reeling with possibilities. I've had eel a few different ways now but what I'd really like is a preparation that showcases the extreme appearance.

Maybe stretched out and roasted on a long stick?

Planked on a 3' cedar fence board?

Coiled up like a kielbasa in the oven?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fish market here has always had live eels. Only thing is they won't kill/clean/gut them for you! I've eaten plenty of eel but have never prepared them from live myself ever since i saw my mum do one when i was a kid. I remember her chopping a small one into round pieces, and the pieces were wriggling like crazy. She'd put black bean and garlic on them and the pieces were still pulsating vigorously right up until she put them into the steamer. Delicious and disturbing.

If you want an extreme experience Peter then it's in the preparation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you want an extreme experience Peter then it's in the preparation.

Thanks, Prawncrackers. My childhood memories of eel, unfortunately, are disturbing without the delicious. I caught one as a seven year old, right out of the Ottawa River then promptly showed my uncle. He shot it with a 22 then chucked it back in the river for the muskrats. Nobody ate eels in Upper Canada back in the 70's.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...