Tagged: lemon

Eel with Salad and Crispy Onions. (Not one of my best)

I got given an eel by Frank, yes, a whole eel minus the head. Well what the bloody hell do I do with that then?

I slept on it, not literally, but I pondered and trawled the web, there’s not much there unless you’re Japanese.
So I decided to fillet it. I first rinsed it in lots of water to get rid of any slimy goo and then I dried it with a towel so as I could get a grip on it to fillet it

Once I had filleted it I marinated it with the juice of a lemon, juice of a lime, a teaspoon of chilli flakes and an inch of ginger finely chopped, I left the eel to marinate for 6 hours while I still decided how I was going to cook it. I thought about frying after dusting with flour but in the end decided to grill it to try to ensure I got a nice crispy skin


I put the eel under the grill with the skin side up and gave it a long slow grill, I didn’t want to burn it. I had seen that the Japanese grill it twice as it’s a fatty fish. While it was cooking I made some crispy onions

I very finely chopped an onion and dropped the onions a little at a time into some hot oil

No need to coat in flour. Just watch the onions while they fry so as not to burn them and then take them out and put on kitchen paper to dry. They will stay crispy.

I then dressed a salad with an olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar dressing. I wanted a slight sweetness to the salad to go with the marinated eel. I put the eel on top of the salad and topped with the crispy onions

The verdict? I wouldn’t willingly eat it again. The skin was rock hard and the meat had the texture of wet bread. I know why eel is grilled twice now, but I thought that if you did that, there wouldn’t be much left to eat. I did finish the dish, the salad dressing was nice but Carol could only manage to eat 1 eel portion. I can also see why jellied eel or smoking it is the only way people eat this stuff, but it’s not for me. The eel that Carol didn’t eat is awaiting Chloe, next door’s cat, whose owners have gone on holiday. Chloe seems to stay here as she doesn’t get looked after by their 18 year old son who still hasn’t taken in the milk which was delivered on monday. It’s now thursday.

It did give me an excuse to make some crunchy French baguettes and get out the cheese for later on though. That was top notch.



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Smoked Sardines with Risini and a Parsley & Oregano Pesto

Ok – “What the hell is Risini?” I hear you ask. [Also sometimes called ‘Orzo’ – just in case you come across it and think we’ve been dishing out duff info!]

Well, it’s a rice shaped pasta. I saw it in Lidl (where else!) and just had to get a pack – with no idea what to do with it at the time. So it has been sat in my cupboard for over a month now.

I got a bag of smoked sardine fillets off the reduction bit at my Tesco (the only time I ever shop there).

And tonight came the inevitable question – “What are we having for tea?”

Fish, I said. So I prepped some pollock and breadcrumbed it for the kids and got the sardines out for me and the missus.

As my herb patch is a verdant jungle due to the crap summer we are having, I decided to make a pesto, but without the basil or pine nuts.  So I went to the patch and got a good handful of parsley and about half as much of the oregano.

I placed this in my blender along with a good glug of olive oil, half a handful of Peccorino cheese and the juice of half a lemon and blitzed it. It was a bit stiff at first so I added a little more oil till it was smooth.

I put enough risini for 2 into a pan of boiling salted water for about 5-6 minutes before adding a handful of peas. 

I then pan fried the sardine fillets skin side down in a hot frying pan till the skin went crispy. [You don’t get a truly crispy skin with sardines but it was enough to take the sliminess off it.]

I drained the risini and peas and then mixed in the pesto. Now we’re cooking!

Put the risini & pesto mix in a pasta dish and I added a few chopped tomatoes then laid the fish on top with a few shavings of parmezan. The whole thing took less than half an hour to make and I must say it was well appreciated by Carol, and by me.

I can honestly say that my fish intake has probably quadrupled over the last few years, and with recipes like this I can only imagine eating more.


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