Ever wonder what does eel taste like? Normally you won't see eels in markets. They look terrifying with their elongated bodies, round and piercing eyes, and sharp teeth. -- very much like snakes! However, they are not; Eels are actually a type of fish. It’s totally edible, but you have to cook it first because its blood is actually poisonous.
What Does Eel Taste Like?
My Experience With Eel
My dad and I own a fish pond, and we breed eel to sell in markets. Eels have a subtle and clean flavor, almost the same with lobster. Eels are easy to prepare because you just have to remove the only bone running down the middle of their bodies - sort of like a spine.
Most eel recipes require skinning by a fishmonger, but in other countries, they simply cut the fish’s head off, and start the preparation by rolling the skin downwards. After that part, the skin can be peeled off easily to come off in one piece.
Eel is pretty high in fat. Personally, being a health conscious that I always was, I would prefer to cook eel in methods wherein you remove some of the fat.
My favorite eel recipe is grilled eel. Grilled Eel is the bomb! Because eel is a staple in our household (and a source of income), we practically eat it every day. The best way, in my opinion, to cook eel is by grilling -- you get the picture: nature, open air, and a beer in hand while grilling eel.
Just season the fish with salt and pepper and grill it in the open fire. Can you imagine yourself doing this? That's the life.
On the other hand, in continental Europe, they use eels in more complex dishes compared to the traditional British dishes like jellied eel, eels in alcohol, and eels fried in bacon fat.
Interestingly, whatever country you’re in, you can make several dishes out of eel.
Unique Ways Of Cooking Eel
In England, they have a dish called “jellied eels”. It’s a pretty simple recipe -- just slice the eels and cook it in boiling water. After 10- to 8 minutes, remove the eel. Then, put powdered gelatin on the water that was used to boil the eel after it cools down.
Once the water cools down, the eel is placed back into set. This dish tastes like a bowl of salty and fishy jelly. It's an acquired taste, but in Europe, they consider it a snack -- what a fishy snack!
Want to learn how to make this dish? Watch the video below.
Unagi (or eel donburi) is a popular eel dish in Japan. The eel is grilled and brushed with a tasty mixture of short soy (soy sauce), mirin (rice wine), and sugar. It is then served over a bed of rice.
The fatty flesh of the unagi is super juicy, and the glaze and has a delightful aroma -- this combination creates a wonderful harmony of flavors. Unagi by itself has a subtle flavor, but when grilled with teriyaki sauce, it tastes sweet, salty, and acquires that umami flavor.
Some Japanese even say that the rising smoke from grilling the unagi is good enough by itself over a bed of rice.
In the country of Seine and Gironde in France, a phenomenon happens in the River Severn called the “severn bore”. It's a huge surge wave that can be seen in the creek of the river.
This phenomenon brings one of the wonderful delicacies called “elvers” in abundance to the river bank. During earlier times, elvers or baby eels was considered a poor man's food. Baby eels have a unique and delicate flavor -- their taste is like a cross between a lobster and scallop but way lighter.
The only challenge you have to face when preparing elvers is catch it. But don’t worry, this Gordon Ramsey video on catching and cooking elvers can be of help.
In Italy, the eel is cut into skewers placed in a baking dish to go along with a huge amount of bay leaves and sprinkled with salt.
It may seem like the simplest recipe, but this is surely one of the most delicious ways of preparing eel because you taste the taste in its simplest form.
Benefits Of Eating Eel
Eels are very nutritious. In Japan, it's believed that eels give you vitality. According to modern science, eels are one of the most nutritious food a human can consume. Eels are high in protein, unsaturated fat, calcium, and other vitamins, and minerals.
It contains Vitamin E to improve skin conditions. Moreover, it strengthens your capillary walls, improves skin moisture retention, and elasticity for a youthful-looking vibrant skin. It also acts as a natural anti-aging agent.
In fact, Vitamin E reduces inflammation inside the body, acts a shield for the skin if exposed to smoke, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and environmental pollution.
So, what do you think about eel now? I hope that this short article helped you change your perspective of eating eel. It really is one of the best alternatives to seafood and also, one of the healthiest.
Now go and find yourself a market that sells eel meat and give it a try. You can follow the ways of preparing eel listed above or experiment on your own.
With the right kind of love and care on preparing and cooking the eels, it will come out wonderful and taste great through your palette.