I heard many people saying they don’t like eel because of its snake-like shape, but what can I say? If properly cooked it’s simply delicious 🙂
By us, in Italy, it’s a very valuable product, famous are the ones from the Valli di Comacchio, and famous is the so called capitone (the big females), mostly prepared for Christmas in some areas of Italy.
Here in Hungary where I am now it’s not common at all, neither by the Balaton lake, where the eel was introduced in large numbers from 1961 (even if there was already before a small population), and until 1990 about 3-4 millions juvenile eels have been introduced every year for economical purpose. So I found out that some decades ago people used to eat it, then came an illness that killed many eels (or probably it was due to overpopulation, and in those years all those eels were responsible of the death of many other native species), and since then somehow people forgot this fish, even if there are absolutely no problems with it since many many years now 🙂 so I managed to find a fisherman, asked him if he could bring me one, and here it is 🙂
The best to eat in my opinion are the eels no larger than 500-600 grams, this one was about 850 grams but it was still very good, just a little bit fat but still ok. When they are over 1 kg they are more fat and not so easy to cook well, let alone over 1,5 or 2 kg.
All I did is very simple: I cleaned it, grilled it (and it would be already good enough to eat now 🙂 ) and then I lacquered in the oven, few minutes, with a mixture of PGI Balsamic Vinegar (a thicker one, for example I used “Aceto Balsamico IGP Giuseppe Cremonini”), Port wine and a little spoon of muscovado sugar. The grill option is the best in my opinion, because in this way all its fat comes out and it will be more easy to digest than other recipes.
Let’s see more in the detail.
- 1 eel
- 1 tablespoon of PGI Balsamic vinegar
- half glass of port wine, or even less (also Marsala works well)
- 1 teaspoon of muscovado sugar (or normal sugar too)
- First of all start to switch on the fire, with good wood 🙂 we need hot embers.
- Clean the eel, remove the central bone and open it like a book (you can look for tutorials if you don’t know how to do it, there are many on Youtube). And wash it well, then drain it.
- Once the embers are ready, season the eel with salt and place it on the grill, starting from the skin side. After about 10-12 minutes, when you see that the skin is darker and more crunchy, and the meat more white/looking almost cooked, turn it on the other side. Cook it for other 6-8 minutes about, when you see that a light brown crust forms on the meat.
- Then remove it from the grill, place it on an oven tray, and by using a brush spread over the meat of the eel the mixture of Balsamic Vinegar, Port wine and muscovado sugar and bake it at 180 °C, fan-assisted mode (of course, previously switched on), for 2 minutes. Then take it out, brush again the mixture, and repeat. Do it 2 or 3 times maximum.
- The eel it’s ready 🙂 I suggest to simply serve it with some grilled vegetables, fresh salad or also a good Polenta.