WARNING: at the end of post there is a photo of the eel as it looked when I brought it home. (Some people mistake eels for snakes.)
I bought an eel last week at the supermarket. I had them gut it, but I had them leave the skin on (which some consider slimy and it definitely is, before cooked. Indeed one part slit out of my hands and slithered across the floor until I caught and washed it.) Once cooked, it is no longer slimy, but rather disintegrates. And, I found it edible in the past, which at least another website has confirmed for me in the past. Omega-3’s, anyone?
Anyhow, feel free to remove the skin or have the fishmonger do this for you, before cooking.
They charge more to gut and/or skin the critter, because unlike other fish in your market, this one is rather challenging. I usually do the job myself: remembering old eel fishing expeditions where we went out and caught the fish, and then nailed them, once home again, to a tree, just below the neck. Then you gut the eels. I don’t have time for such things this year as I was about to head out of town, so I paid a little extra for the fishmonger to do the work. (And no time to write up this blog for another six days after the dish…)
Eel doesn’t seem to show up in markets except at the holidays, at least around here.
I cut the eel up, and froze about half of it for later.
A portion of eel (remove head)
Tamari sauce or fermented soy sauce without wheat, just because
Sprinkles of celery seed
Hot sauce, just a drizzle (Cholula, in this case — no funky ingredients) but not enough for true heat
Ground cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 350F.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness. Plate and slice into bite size pieces. There is a central backbone that pulls out easily once cooked.
Serve with roasted celeriac, turnips and daikon (or other hearty winter veggies. Might be good with sweet potatoes, roasted WITHOUT sugar or those without ubiquitous evil marshmallows. Or, for a more Asian treatment, bok choy and Asian eggplant, cooked with a little sesame oil.)
I froze the rest of the eel for later. I hope to try and post a Greek or Italian treatment when I return from the holidays, but couldn’t resist doing something simple since this time of the year it is the only time I seem to score fresh eel. Something to do with the Italian Christmas eve, hailing from at least certain portions of Italy.
Here’s the eel, as I took him home.