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Eating eel is a no for many people, even die-hard seafood lovers, this is due to many things. The fact that it looks like a snake is one of the main reasons for many, we have to admit, it does look a bit scary with its big rounded eyes and elongated slimy body.
But still, we decided to tell you a few things that we’ve learned through research and experience alike, and basically, try to give you some details before you try eel yourself.
The first and most important thing is that if you’re really interested in trying eel just go for it, don’t hesitate, even one bit!
One of our editors has shared with us her experience with eel: she basically tried it in restaurants and adored the taste of it, so she decided to cook some herself for both her and her family. After she was done with removing the skin off the eel, her husband and two sons weren’t impressed by the sight of the unskinned eel, but after she managed to cook it perfectly, they loved it.
“Back when I was a little girl’’ she continued, ‘’my father used to go fishing from time to time, then one day he came back from a fishing trip with an eel in his hand. My mom was obviously scared of it at first, but as it turns out, my dad’s experience with fish doesn’t stop when gets out of the water. So, he cooked the eel for us in a southern way, that’s the word for deep frying a fish until it obtains a crunchy skin and a soft texture. That was the first time I tried eel, and I loved it, the thing is, eel was expensive back then, so if it weren’t for dad’s lucky catch, we probably wouldn’t have tried it.’’
Times have changed, but the pricing of eel, however, didn’t.
Eel is not cheap nowadays, so the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is ‘’If it’s this expensive, it probably tests like really luxurious seafood, right?”.
And to be honest, most of us here have tried eel, and the majority confirms that it sure tastes special and is totally worth the price tag.
Types of Eel
There are multiple types of eel in the waters out there, but the main two are saltwater and freshwater eels. And they differ greatly for us chefs, for instance, saltwater eels have a firmer skin and flesh, which usually makes them cheaper than the freshwater eels.
We highly recommend you get freshwater eel if you don’t mind the higher price tag, simply because of its softer meat and the low fishy aroma content. However, if you happen to get saltwater eel, it won’t be that much of an issue either.
After all, the most important part is how you cook it, and not the type it comes from.
The Texture and Taste of Eel
So, to answer to it here, whatever type of eel you go with, you’ll end up enjoying its amazing taste.
To put it mildly, the taste of eel meat is a light, yet sweet taste, the texture, on the other hand, is a soft yet firm one which allows you to have a nice chew when eating it.
Some people compare it to salmon, octopus or lobster meat, but believe us when we say that it’s definitely more delicate and tasteful than those.
Another plus is the fact that eels have no bones at all except for the spine which is removed before you even start cooking eel, so you don’t have to worry about your young kids (and old people alike), they’ll surely love it!
Cooking and Preparing Eel
Yet another great feature of eel meat is the fact that it absorbs most sauces and seasoning with no effort at all. If you’re not an experienced cook, this basically means that you can cook eel in a huge variety of ways. This feature itself is probably the main reason why eel is the most popular eaten fish in the country of Japan. It actually reached the point where eel became an endangered species because of all the overfishing and overcooking that the species faces in the Asian waters.
Although not as popular as Japan, eel is gaining recognition around the world, which drastically increased the demand for the fish. And more and more people got better at preparing eel.
First things first, you’ll have to skin and clean the eel, which is arguably the hardest part when preparing eel. So, make sure to have a good & sharp knife in your hand and a cutting board all ready and set. As we’ve mentioned, this can be a tricky task due to the eel’s rather hard skin. The best solution is using one of your Ceramic Knives or a Japanese Knife. If none of those is available, work with what you got by using a Knife Sharpener, be it a Sharpening Steel or Sharpening Stone.
You can always look for videos on YouTube on how to properly do it, and most of them will probably provide you with enough information just fine.
There are many different ways to cook eel, one European way that gained a lot of reputation is jelly eel. Which basically goes as follow: You broil and season the eel, and once it reaches the desired consistency you leave it to cool down on the Cooling Rack which creates a jelly texture thus earning the name Jelly Eel.
In Spain, there is the famous Angulas dish, which is made with baby eels. You basically sauté the eel with Olive Oil from your Olive Oil Dispenser, garlic, and normal or Canned Chili pepper and cook it. Careful when ordering one in a restaurant though, as they are extremely expensive. And have gained a lot of controversy due to the fact that the main ingredient in the dish is baby eels, thus stagnating the chances of the eel population to grown and repopulate.
In Japan, eels are mostly served as kabayaki, where they basically cut open the eel like a butterfly, marinate it then grill it. We personally highly recommend this dish for its delicate and beautiful taste. Just get your Japanese Cookbook, Grilling Tools, and Indoor Grill, and you’ll be able to prepare it in no time.
The Benefits of Eating Eel
The importance of food doesn’t stop on how delicious it can be; it should be healthy too!
Through thorough research, scientists have concluded that eel has a number of health benefits, for one, its nutritional value is pretty high. And It contains a large amount of important and valuable vitamins, and it can even go as far as speeding up your metabolism.
In Asian countries, where eel is most prominent, people even go as far as using it as an aphrodisiac because of its stamina increasing ability. No wonder why eel is so expensive!
If you feel like you’re ready to prepare some eel, then go for it right now! Believe us when we say that it’s worth every penny of your money.
There are many recipes to choose from, the ones we mentioned above are just but a tiny spec of what you can really do with eel. Be assured that it’ll taste amazing and be healthy as well.
If you happen to have some guests who enjoy exotic cuisines, then look no further than eel, with it’s out of this world recipes and taste, they’ll be amazed. Serve it with some beverages from your Wine Fridge along with a Wine Opener and Wine Glass Sets, and you’ll get an unbeatable experience.
Happy cooking and have a nice meal!
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!