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Old 10-16-2004, 10:42 PM   #1
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What is eel like?

what' the texture like? and how about the flavor?
anything comparable?
thanks. :)

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Old 10-17-2004, 12:13 AM   #2
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The only eel I've had is in sushi. The texture is VERY tender yet still firm to the tooth and in this case, kind of sweet. VERY good. As far as any other eel, I don't have a clue - sorry. Maybe someone will come by and really help!
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Old 10-17-2004, 01:59 AM   #3
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Here’s a topic I can wrap my insomniac fingers around: Unagi, a true fish, not a snake. Elf, mega dittos on the sushi.

Eel is a firm fish, true, but can also be fork-tender.

The unagi we usually enjoy at sushi bars is typically broiled…brushed with a mixture of soy sauce and sweet sake. The result is a caramelized filet that is almost candy-like. Oh, I love broiled eel!

Far beyond this method exists a huge realm of ways in which eel is prepared. In ancient Japan, eel was always grilled. It was sliced open down the underbelly, gutted and de-boned, skinned, slathered with a sweet basting sauce and thrown onto the charcoal. Today, that method exists in the west, while East Japan has a more modern version that is first steamed, then grilled, then steamed again. And the resulting texture is still firm (which eel definitely is), but much more moist and delicate. Walking past a restaurant grilling eel and catching one faint scent of that wonderful aroma will bring you to your knees begging for a taste. For me, it’s the same as walking past a BBQ joint in Memphis, or a smoker with a succulent pork roast inside. The texture is very similar to chicken teri-yaki...you've had that at a Chinese restaurant, right?

Among a huge number of recipes, you will find eel braised, broiled, baked, grilled, pan-fried, smoked, pickled and on and on. Heck, I fell absolutely in love with Eel Liver Soup! (Tastes quite similarly to Monkfish Liver, if you’ve gotten that “sushi-brave” Elf…)

Here’s a recipe you can try at home…and it uses more American ingredients, assuming you don’t have mirin and miso in your cupboard!

Go to a good Asian market, pick out a cute eel and have the fishmonger (for lack of a better term) provide you with filets. Go immediately home and cut each filet into several 2-3 inch wide sections.

In a large saute pan, saute ¼ cup each of finely diced onions and celery in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the vegetables are transparent. Add your eel sections, then moisten them with about ½ cup of white wine, adding 3-4 chopped shiitake mushrooms. Next, add salt and pepper, the juice of half a lemon, ½ teaspoon of lemon zest, 1 tsp. each of fresh mint and thyme. Simmer until the eel is tender and remove to a plate. Add about half a cup of fresh heavy cream to the pan, and reduce. Return the eel to the sauce, reheat, and serve this over a bed of good sticky rice.
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Old 10-25-2004, 01:40 PM   #4
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We had eel sushi once; smoked. I wouldn't go out of my way to have it again, but I liked it more than I do most smoked seafood. Texture was not slimy, and the smoke flavor was strong enough that I couldn't tell you what the eel itself tasted like. Since I've not had it since, have no idea if that is a positive or negative!!!
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Old 10-25-2004, 02:12 PM   #5
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Can you believe my local newspaper just had an article on eel yesterday?! It talks about its nutritional value among some other interesting things. Here's the link: http://www.pennlive.com/search/index...0.xml?pennnenv
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Old 10-25-2004, 02:14 PM   #6
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I have only had eel at sushi restaurants, but would love to try it other ways. People who are hesitant to try sushi for the first time are usually very hesitant to try eel, but the ironic thing is that they would probably like eel more than most other things to begin with as it tastes very similar to something with BBQ sauce.
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Old 10-25-2004, 04:48 PM   #7
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eel best stuff i've ever had lol. Texture is like bass well you can get canned eel at like asian super markets or chiense groceries.
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Old 10-26-2004, 11:15 AM   #8
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anyone ever have baby eels? they are deelish, had them in a butter/garlic/lemon/parsley sauce, with some great sangria.
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Old 10-26-2004, 05:08 PM   #9
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If eel gives you the Heebie Jeebies, as Audeo says, just think of them as a fish because that's what they are. Fish. The have gills. The live and breathe under water.

They are usually cooked until they're almost falling apart tender. Almost always cooked in a sweet soy sauce (teriyaki of a sort). You can buy already prepared unagi in cans. These days, I like the frozen product.

BTW, unagi, the preferred eel is fresh water. Anagi, or saltwater eel is cheaper. I usually buy the cheaper stuff. Tastes almost as good, but at a much reduced price. The main difference, in my opinion, is the saltwater eel has a tougher skin.
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Old 10-26-2004, 10:37 PM   #10
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eel skin is good for making wallets, and pants for kevin costner (waterworld).
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:44 AM   #11
 
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Anyone given more thought to the "smoked eel" from Europe? (ie Dutch?)

We seem to be getting lost into the world of sushi, fine, in and of itself, but there are several ways to skin the proverbial "cat"...

Again, Iron Chef, get in here and comment!

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Old 10-27-2004, 06:28 AM   #12
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i was looking for this thread so i could read any replies and thank any who replied!:D thanks for the replies, guys.
:D
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Old 10-29-2004, 04:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audeo
Here’s a recipe you can try at home…and it uses more American ingredients, assuming you don’t have mirin and miso in your cupboard!
thanks, audeo.
i'm curious about the recipes that require mirin and miso now.
i have both mirin and miso at my fingertips; they're readily available here.
the eel is the hard-to-find ingredient, but there are some fish markets just over the state border, and from what i understand, one has just opened locally... just don't know if i trust the quality of the seafood, but i guess i can't learn unless i go check it out....
sooo..... fill me in, would you? what ethnic recipes do you have in mind?


i love sushi, and i would love to make some at home. my favorite grocery store has nori and sushi rice and vinegar and pickled ginger, and i have all of the other stuff like wasabi and soy sauce here in the cupboard, just waiting to be used...
sooo, fill me in on the details? :D

buckytom, i might make a dish similar to the one you mentioned. it sounds awesome.
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Old 10-29-2004, 09:52 AM   #14
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Here's a Japanese-esque recipe for a baked eel "roll" that is a departure from what you'd find stateside and one that we ate quite a bit on Okinawa. In fact, I'll give you a simple Japanese dinner!

You're going to make Baked Sea Eel and Miso Soup!

Go to an Asian or (better yet) Japanese market and buy:

(1) 8-10-inch prepared (deboned and beheaded) whole saltwater eel
(1) 8-10-inch burdock root (might get longer and trim)
(1) pkg of firm tofu
Dark Miso paste

1 can of dashi powder that appeals to you (there are several)
and some ground sansho, which is a Japanese peppercorn (interesting stuff!) (a lot of Eastern countries have their own version, not just Japan)

Some background here: Dashi is simply soup stock. If you want to make your own, instead of using a powder, it's easy. While you're at the market, also grab a can of Niboshi (sardines, yum!) and 6 or 8 shiitakes, if you don't have any.

To make the Dashi, pour 4 cups of water into a medium-sized pot, add the drained niboshi (you can remove the heads or leave them on...) and the shiitakes. Cover the pot and let the stuff soak for half an hour. Then, over low heat, slowly bring the stock to a boil and then boil for 2-3 minutes. Strain the dashi and reserve and shiitakes! By the way, this dashi is a very common basis for Miso Soup in Japan. Every place has its favored version, though.

Back to the Eel....

Add 1 cup of your dashi into a saucepan, along with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (good stuff!) and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, scrub, then peel the burdock root and cut it into 2" or so rounds, then quarter those. Place them into the boiling dashi mixture and let them cook for probably 20 minutes. (Burdock -- which has a cousin that also grows wild in places in this country -- is a woody, fibrous root that tastes a lot like celery, but different and very good!) When the burdock is tender, drain it well, then mash it slightly. (You can add some salt if you wish, but not much!)

While the burdock is cooking, mix together 4 tablespoons of mirin with 2 tablespoons of soy sauch and a good pinch of the sansho into a small saucepan and allow it to reduce, over med-low heat, until you have achieved a nice glaze, somewhere between thick and thin. (Great info there, right? Sorry. It's a feel thing!)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees (F). And coat a baking sheet lightly with light olive oil.

Next, spread out your eel and pound it to a consistent thickness, or about 3/8 of an inch thick. Spread the burdock onto the eel and roll it up, letting the midline edges overlap slightly, and tie the eel in 3-4 places with kitchen twine. Coat one side of the stuffed eel with a bit of glaze, then invert the eel onto the baking sheet and coat again.

Bake for 4-5 minutes at 300 degrees, then coat again with the glaze, but don't turn the fish. Return to the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Remove and cover with a loose tent of HD Aluminum foil and set aside.

For the Miso...

Bring the remainder of your strained dashi to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add 1/2 of the tofu cake that has been chopped into 1/4-inch pieces. Bring back to a slow boil. Turn off the heat and add about 3 tablespoons of the miso paste and stir very gently to dissolve.

Spoon into bowls and, traditionally, top with very thinly sliced green onion tops. And if you happen to have a wee bit of kelp laying around, put a 4" strip of that into the bowl first, then pour over the miso and add the green onion rings.

The only other thing I would likely add to this menu would be a dollop of good ole sticky rice on the side of the baked eel.

Good luck and happy eating!!!
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Old 10-29-2004, 02:51 PM   #15
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a favorite eel dish, again a japanese one, is unaju, which is just grilled eel, served over a bed of vinegared rice, the same as used in making sushi. kinda like a giant piece of eel sushi. very easy to make them at home. the eel only needs to grill a few minutes on each side. i like to peel off the skin after grilling, then crisp it in some hot sesame oil. yum. the same goes for salmon skin.
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