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A Guide to Buying and Cooking Eel

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Eel is a dish sure to please seafood lovers. With it’s sweet, firm meat, eel is widely considered a delectable dish well worth learning to cook at home.

It’s not difficult to prepare, and can be used in place of mackerel in many recipes.

 

How to Buy Eel

Eel is usually eaten while quite young – often only a few weeks old; in the marketplace, young eels are sometimes called “elvers.” Older eels tend to be tough and fatty, but may still be useful in stews.

Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to find fresh eel in the United States. Nonetheless, between December and February you are more likely to see them, especially in larger cities – where Italian and Asian markets may be your best source. Otherwise, eel can be purchased online.

 

How to Prepare Eel

Eels are slippery, which makes handling them tricky. If you need to kill a fresh eel, purchase it the day you want to cook it, then kill it as soon as you get it home. Try holding a kitchen or paper towel in the hand you use to hold the eel; hold it just behind the head, then chop its head off.

Remove the eel’s skin by making a small cut just behind its head with a paring knife. Hold a paper or kitchen towel in one hand, then (with the towel still in your hand), pull down the skin. Alternatively, you could use pliers to hold the eel firmly. Use the paring knife to remove as much fat as possible from the meat.

 

A Guide to Buying and Cooking Eel

 

How to Cook Eel

Eel is excellent fried or sautéed. A popular method of cooking is to cut the eel into small sections, remove the bone, and dredge it in flour. When frying, try adding fresh rosemary to the oil.

Eel may also be barbequed; try skewering it, for ease of cooking.

Large eels may be braised or stewed. When stewing, add some white wine, onion, carrot, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, a few peppercorns, and a little salt.

Pickled eel can be made by cutting up three pounds of eel and covering it with salt. Allow it to sit for about three hours, then rinse well. Boil a cup of vinegar, a cup of water, an onion slice, two bay leaves, some allspice, and a slice of lemon for about 15 minutes. Add half the eel slices and simmer until tender.

Remove, and cook the second half of the eel. Store the eels in the refrigerator with the cooled vinegar mixture over them.

 

Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : A Guide to Buying and Cooking Eel

 

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