I confess, I am fascinated by English food and yet I have never eaten jellied eels! I’ve had eel, smoked and it is delicious, but jellied eels – I have never seen any for sale and I’m sure if I did I wouldn’t buy them! I’m usually really keen to try all sorts of different food, and my dad talked about catching ‘bootlaces’ – tiny eels, and frying them in bacon fat and having them for breakfast.. but there’s something about eels which repels me, me the omnivore.
I actually know what it is about eels which repels me. One of my favourite authors is Gunther Grass and the first novel I read by him was ‘Tin Drum’. There is a scene in it when eels are caught by throwing a horse’s head into the sea.. I won’t describe it, but needless to say, it so disgusted me that I cannot even contemplate even eating eels (even though the rest of the book is, as I say, a favourites).Smoked eel was very nice, and its appearance did not look eel-like, but the pictures I’ve seen of chunks of eel in grey jelly.. sorry, but no – Gunther Grass and the horse’s head.!
I’ve been reading a Cornish cookery book, and here is a recipe to deal with conger eels… gosh, the thought is so repellent, conger eels… Noooooo!
Conger eel pie
Conger eels are best eaten in autumn and winter, and small ones are preferable.
- 1 eel
- seasoned flour
- chopped parsley
- shortcrust pastry
- fresh cream
- cut off the head, skin and wash the eel, slice into small steaks
- cut into pieces and coat in seasoned flour
- place in dish with parsley, seasoning and knobs of butter
- half fill the dish with milk, and cook in medium oven until the eel is nearly done
- Cover dish with pastry and put in a hot oven to cook
- serve with cream