Contains: Fish. Is: Gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, Whole30.
I find my eel once a year down at a ShopRite back in Connecticut – they sell it for Christmastime to a largely-Italian patronage who will consume it for Christmas Eve. I bring it back and freeze it (or eat it then) for a meal or two I enjoy, remembering Dad who would have likewise loved it with me, whatever preparation. It freezes well, unlike many other types of fish.
Learning that the Greeks have a recipe for eel encouraged me to thaw out a section and cook it. This is being posted the first Friday in Lent, for those who observe Lent – it’s a seafood dish that contains no (mammalian or avian) meat, which makes it acceptable for those Catholics who do observe the “No Meat on (Lenten) Fridays” rule. Of course, it’s not vegetarian – but this just goes to point out the diversity of acceptability on foods. Meat, when I grew up as a Catholic back in the day, did not, by that definition, include fish (in America and in much of Europe). Indeed, if it lived in the water, it was “fish”, instead.
So, anyhow, in order to add more Greek recipes to my (self-imposed) Greek Blogging Month, and to provide a couple of recipes that those who do follow Catholic observances, I’m posting this recipe and the vegetarian Spanakopita recipe today, the first Friday in Lent this year.
The fishmonger at ShopRite both gutted and skinned this eel. I cooked it for one. Ask your fishmonger to do this for you if you don’t find one already prepared. Sometimes they’ll charge a little extra for the service as it is less easy than prepping a “regular” fish.
Ladolemono sauce is a Greek lemon sauce minus any eggs. It can be used on leafy green salads as well as on fish dishes. So, what I did here was place my cooked eel upon a leafy green base, and add the ladolemono over it. Use whatever leafy greens you like – OR use a good Greek salad as a base.
If you can’t find eel? I think you need a “heavy” fish, to withstand the broil. If you don’t mind that bluefish, a New World upper Atlantic denizen aren’t at all Mediterranean, let alone Greek, I could see experimenting with that one. I have not done so, and have no immediate plans to try this – but if I do I’ll let you know. (Actually, this was so good that… who knows?)
One thing to know about eel as served here – there’s a backbone. During the broiling, the rib bones that are attached to the backbone dissolve into the meat, rendering no problems with the eating, but you’ll find the eel might be best eaten with fingers due to the remaining backbone. The other thing is that eel does lose a fair amount of weight upon broiling.
Okay, after all this yakking, I’m ready to begin, but first a look at some recipe links:
I made a full recipe of this. I added capers, and reduced the salt.
My recipe is this, halved, as I felt the eel certainly didn’t need the full bolus. Oil and lemon juice are the primary ingredients – you can use the other items as desired.
Prep Time: 15 – 20 minutes, including the dressing.
Marinate Time: 15 minutes.
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes.
Rest Time: None, best for eel to be served hot.
Serves 2-3, depending on size of eel.
Leftovers: Yes, best for eel to be re-heated.
Greek Broiled Eel with Ladolemono Dressing
- 1 medium eel, cleaned and skinned (My eel was nearly 2 feet long, and weighed 11 ounces / 320 grams.)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Greek olive oil – for a broil, personally I’d go for a regular, not an extra-virgin variety. (I ended up using avocado oil.)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon capers, rinsed
- 1 batch ladolemono – see below
- Garnish: Coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley. Possibly a dill sprig or two.
Skin and clean the eel if the fishmonger hasn’t done it for you. You’ll be best off if he does!
For a 2 foot or shorter eel, cut into halves to make two sections (to serve 2). For anything longer, consider three sections (to serve 3). The amount of the rest of the ingredients should still work out fine. Or, simply chop it up into 2-3 inch long segments and cook it together. (I went with this last option)
Sprinkle / rub the eel on both sides and inside with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and let it marinate for fifteen minutes. Broil the fish in the oven for about fifteen minutes or until it is cooked all the way through. (Watch your broil function – some are hotter, some are “cooler” – and the old range I had back in Connecticut had TWO temperature settings for Broil. In other words, don’t leave unattended!)
Pull out of the oven, and with each individual serving, add over whatever leafy greens you may have at the moment, add the capers, ladolemono and garnish – serve immediately, one section per person/serving.
- 1/4 cup (60 mL Greek olive oil – definitely use extra virgin here!
- 1/8 cup (30 mL / 2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Approximately 2 teaspoons fresh Greek herbs (I chose dill plus mint, finely minced, using a little more dill than mint.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add the olive oil to a small canning or similar jar, with a handy lid. Add everything else. Shake vigorously. The contents will separate near-immediately so shake further prior to any use.
This will store for two weeks, refrigerated. Because of the fresh garlic (if you use this), it will not be reliably stored longer.
While today Greek Recipe Month is technically over, at this blog – I have a strong desire to make Spanakopita as well as Lamb Stuffed Eggplant – expect both of those dishes March 6th!!! Late spring, I hope to bring you both a vegetarian and a ground beef Moussaka. (But until then we’ll take a break from things Greek!)
Meanwhile, this recipe is linking up at the following link parties:
- Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau
- Full Plate Thursdays, hosted by Miz Helen
- What’s for Dinner? – Sunday Supper, at The Lazy Gastronome