Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In praise of smoked eel

One of the most delicious things I ate over the last week or so was also one of the simplest. At Moore Wilson's I found pieces of smoked eel, and they were remarkably cheap - just under $14 a kilo. The piece I bought was about $5.
           I think the low price probably reflects the amount of work you need to do to use this delicacy - carefully pulling out all the long bones (pliers are a help), then removing all the little backbones and the skin. But once you've done that, it's plain sailing. I found this recipe online, and chose it because I had the pink peppercorns, the dill and the horseradish, and I liked the idea of combining those ingredients with the eel.

Smoked eel pate
250g smoked eel, with skin and bones removed
1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp commercial horseradish cream
75g unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp cream cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper

Flake the eel into the bowl of a food processor. Add the peppercorns, lemon juice, dill and horseradish cream, then process to form a rough textured paste. Then add the butter and cream cheese and process again to form smooth pate.

Check seasoning and add to taste if necessary (use white pepper if you want to avoid the tiny specks of black pepper, but I don't think this matters.) Shape neatly (it will set to become very firm) and chill in fridge till set.

To serve, take out about 15 minutes ahead of time. Make thin slices of dry toast, or use crackers. (I used Vogel's very thinly sliced bread - it's a bit hard to get, but it makes lovely toast to go with the pate.)

I served the eel pate alongside guacamole as a starter. I didn't realise it was going to set so firmly, or I would have probably made it into a neat shape for slicing, rather than putting it in a bowl. But it tasted the same and it looked very pretty. The horseradish gives it a subtle kick, and the pink peppercorns add a delicate fennel-like flavour.


  1. Looks great Anne! I will try it. M was just saying he preferred smoked eel to trout! More flavour

  2. I've never tried this, looks and sounds delicious, thanks for sharing



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